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US places mobile phone spyware organization NSO on its entity list

NSO Group’s Pegasus software has received accusations of facilitating phone hacking by specific regimes, so the USA has made a decision to try and send it out of business. 

For the previous few years, the US entity list has primarily leveraged to cripple Chinese organizations, most notably Huawei, in the name of national security. Its remit is now currently receiving expansions to organizations originating from other nations, even close allies. Israeli firm NSO Group is under suspicion of enabling state phone hacking, which appears to be the reason enough for it to be placed on the listing. 

“NSO Group and Candiru were included to the Entity List on the basis of a determination that they produced and supplied spyware to foreign governance that leveraged this tool to maliciously target government officials, journalists, business personnel, activists, academics, and embassy staff members,” specifies the US government announcement. 

“NSO Group is dismayed by the decision provided that our technologies are compatible with US National security interests and policies by averting terrorism and crime, and therefore, we will back for this decision to be reversed, stated the NSO Group Statement. 

“We look forward to presenting the complete information with regards to how we have the planet’s most stringent compliance and human rights programs that have their basis on American values we deeply share, which already had the outcome of several terminations of contracts with governmental agencies that abused our products.” 

Obviously, due processes must be adhered to, however, that doesn’t imply it will. The entity listing is a unilateral tool of US government that doesn’t appear to need any judicial assistance. In the court of public opinion, however, this is seemingly an open-and-shut case, as several tweets indicate. 

While he hadn’t tweeted on the issue at the time of writing, state-surveillance whistle blower Edward Snowden is seemingly pleased with regards this move as well. One thing he might want take into account combined with his own revelations, however, is America’s present tendency of leveraging state machinery to bring technology organizations to heel. If NSO is one day eradicated from the entity list it will be logical to question what kind of deal it made with the US government to create such an alteration of heart. 

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