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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pegasus – USA. The Supreme Court has allowed WhatsApp to continue its lawsuit against NSO Group

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The US Supreme Court rejected the request of NSO Group – producer of Pegasus spy software. The Israeli company demanded that the lawsuit be dismissed, while judges allowed WhatsApp, a company owned by Meta, to continue its proceedings against NSO.

WhatsApp, which accused NSO Group of installing Pegasus spyware in its app, may continue legal proceedings that began in 2019 and were suspended due to an appeal by the Israeli company.

WhatsApp vs Pegasus producer

NSO Group filed for the lawsuit to be dismissed by the San Francisco Court of Appeals on the grounds that it is a private entity acting as a contractor for foreign countries and therefore should obtain USA immunity for foreign politicians.

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US Presidential Administration Joe Biden urged the judges to reject the NSO’s appeal because the State Department had never previously recognized a private entity as an “agent of a foreign state” with immunity.

The Reuters agency reminds that the Pegasus software was used, among other things, by the Saudi Arabian government to spy on the environment of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was later murdered by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

According to court records, about 1.4 thousand. WhatsApp user accounts were infected by Pegasus and their phones were then used as surveillance tools.

US blacklist

In November 2021, the U.S. government blacklisted NSO Group because it believes the company poses a threat to U.S. national security. The U.S. Department of Commerce explained that Pegasus was being used for repression, and therefore the company was added to the list of entities with limited access to American components and technologies.

Last fall, Apple added a mode that is supposed to “dramatically” increase the protection of devices against snooping with programs like Pegasus. The service is to be available to people who are particularly vulnerable to this type of surveillance.

With the help of Pegasus, you can not only eavesdrop on conversations from an infected smartphone, but also gain access to other data stored in it, e.g. e-mails, photos or video recordings, as well as to cameras and microphones.

WhatsApp itself was fined a record €225 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) in September 2021 for breaches of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The IDPC oversees Meta, which owns WhatsApp, and its entities in the EU because in Ireland this technological giant has its European headquarters.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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