A Saudi citizen has sued Israeli spyware company NSO Group in the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. The suit asks the court to issue an order prohibiting NSO from selling its Pegasus spyware, which it developed for the Saudi authorities, and to halt the installation services that it is already implementing in Saudi Arabia.
The suit was filed by an East Jerusalem law firm on behalf of Omar Elaziz Alzaharani, a friend of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. Alzaharani claims, "The system (Pegasus) was used to spy on the many conversations and messages between the plaintiff and the late journalist. The surveillance that was conducted and exposure of the content of the conversations and messages between him and Khashoggi made a genuine contribution to the decision to kill Mr. Khashoggi by the assassins in the consulate building."
The plaintiff, who has been in Canada since 2013 seeking political asylum, is demanding NIS 600,000 in damages. He is also a range of prohibition orders including preventing NSO from selling its Pegasus spyware system to the Saudi authorities. The suit says, "Continuing to provide the services that are being supplied harms the plaintiff and his right to privacy and puts his life at risk."
NSO Group said, "The lawsuit is completely groundless. It contains no evidence of use of the company's technology. Moreover, it contains details that are not anchored in reality, such as for example contacts between the company and Mexican company Balam, with which it has no connection."
"NSO is a technology company that is not involved in operating the products that it sells to its customers. This is a lawsuit based on media quotes that have no connection to reality, which aims to generate media headlines. NSO has operated and operates only according to the Defense Exports Law and the instructions and supervision of all the defense establishment's regulations."
Alzaharani tweeted that Saudi Arabia paid over $55 million so that NSO would spy on him and other Saudi dissidents.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 3, 2018
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