Government of Israel, approving any sales of NSO software to foreign governments and consider software an important foreign policy tool, is lobbying the United States on behalf of NSO to remove the ban. NSO had said it would fight the ban, but the chief executive set to take over NSO Group quit after the business was blacklisted, the company said.
A week after the federal ban, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Track 9 rejected NSO’s offer to dismiss Facebook’s lawsuit. The Israeli company has argued that it “can claim foreign sovereign immunity.” The court’s 3-0 ruling rejected NSO’s argument and allowed Facebook’s case to continue.
Those developments helped pave the way for Apple’s lawsuit against NSO on Tuesday. Apple first found itself in the NSO trail in 2016, when researchers at Citizen Lab, a research institute of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and Lookout, the cybersecurity firm San Francisco, discovered that NSO’s Pegasus spyware was take advantage of three security holes in Apple products to spy on dissidents, activists and journalists.
And the company is at risk of default, warned Moody’s, the rating agency. Moody’s downgraded NSO two levels, eight levels below investment grade, citing $500 million in debt and severe cash-flow problems.
NSO spyware gives its government clients full access to the contents of a target’s phone, allows agents to read target’s text messages and emails, record calls phone, record audio and footage from their camera, and track the person’s whereabouts.
Internal NSO documents, leaked to The New York Times in 2016, showed that the company charged government agencies $650,000 to track 10 iPhone users — along with a half-million dollar setup fee. Government agencies in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico were among NSO’s first customers, the documents show.
Those revelations led to the discovery of NSO spyware on the phones of human rights activists in the Emirates and journalists, activists and human rights lawyers in Mexico – even their children. They are living in America.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/23/technology/apple-nso-group-lawsuit.html Apple Sues Israeli Spyware Manufacturer NSO Corporation