Several days after Microsoft chairman Brad Smith declared in a post that 'mercenaries don't deserve immunity,' referring to cyberattack companies like NSO Group, a coalition of US tech giants has announced it is joining the lawsuit being conducted by Facebook unit WhatsApp against the Israeli company.
Joining the lawsuit is a tech organization called the Internet Association, which encompasses leading tech giants including Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon and Twitter.
The original case has been brought by Facebook and its Whatsapp unit for allegedly breaching a vulnerability in the messaging app with its Pegasus spyware to hack into the phones of 1,400 people including journalists and human rights activists.
The case is being heard in a California court in San Francisco, which has already ruled that the proceedings can go ahead after dismissing NSO's claims that there is no case to answer. In the case, Facebook is asking for NSO to be forced to divulge the names of customers and other documents.
In its lawsuit Facebook says that NSO, "Developed its spyware to receive access to messages and the other means of communication on the smartphone devices of the people it was spying on in order to bypass the program's encryption.
NSO said in response, "The only aim of NSO's products is to assist government intelligence and law enforcement agencies permitted to combat terror and serious crime, which sometimes hides behind encrypted platforms and apps."
In Israel where Facebook is also suing NSO, there has also been conflict over Facebook and NSO after the social media giant blocked the Facebook and Instagram pages of NSO employees. The Tel Aviv District Court ordered Facebook to remove the block.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 22, 2020
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