US Blacklists Israeli Spy Software Company Behind Pegasus

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The Israeli company NSO, which supplies software that has been used to wiretap numerous heads of state, opposition leaders and activists worldwide, has been blacklisted.

 

The Commerce Department says the company’s operations are contrary to the interests of the United States and endanger national security. As a result, export to the US is now banned.

The software has enabled repressive governments to unwittingly track journalists, human rights activists and opponents abroad in their efforts to silence them, the ministry said.

Investigative journalists from the French collective Forbidden Stories brought the case to light. They discovered, among other things, that the Pegasus software was used against prominent figures such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Moroccan King Mohammed VI. The fiancée of murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi was also under surveillance, as were more than 180 journalists from leading news organizations. However, NSO has contradicted the findings.

The US lists three more companies guilty of malicious cyber activities: Israel’s Candiru, Positive Technologies of Russia and Computer Security Initiative Consultancy of Singapore. The move is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to put human rights at the heart of foreign policy.

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