NSO Group is an Israeli company that markets spyware, in particular the famous Pegasus. In the summer of 2021, an investigation revealed its use by states to monitor politicians, opponents, and journalists. Following this scandal, NSO Group was placed on a “blacklist” by the Biden administration, obliging any American entity to obtain a government authorisation to buy software or a service from it.
This 23 November 2021, Apple filed suit against NSO Group in a California court to prevent it from “further harming people using Apple’s products and services.“
Facebook (now Meta) had sued NSO Group back in 2019, accusing it of targeting 1,400 of its users with spyware. The U.S. Court of Appeals recently denied NSO’s request to dismiss the case under the company’s “foreign sovereign immunity.”
Will Cathcart, CEO of WhatsApp (which is owned by Meta), said he was “very happy to see Apple join the effort to hold spyware companies accountable” for the malicious uses of their products.
Between media revelations, diplomatic sanctions, and legal complaints, the future of NSO Group now seems complicated.