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US sanctions NSO Group, Israeli spyware company at centre of Pegasus Papers | Science & Tech News

The US is sanctioning an Israeli spyware company that it accused of supplying technology to foreign governments “to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers”.NSO Group had been accused of assisting despotic regimes in targeting journalists, political dissidents, and human rights activists in reports earlier this year.
The company responded at the time that its spyware was only used by governments to hack the mobile phones of terrorists and serious criminals.Howeve the US Department of Commerce has now accused it and three other companies “acting contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States”.A series of rulings in the High Court published last month found that Dubai’s ruler had used the software to spy on his ex-wife and her lawyers during a legal battle over their children.
The company has been added to the US Entity List that sanctions them with trade restrictions, requiring them to receive licenses if they are going to receive any technologies from America.
However, it would not prohibit Americans or American companies from hiring NSO Group or using its technologies.
Alongside the company is Candiru, another Israeli spyware firm, as well as the Russian company Positive Technologies and the Computer Security Initiative Consultancy from Singapore.The US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo said: “The United States is committed to aggressively using export controls to hold companies accountable that develop, traffic, or use technologies to conduct malicious activities that threaten the cybersecurity of members of civil society, dissidents, government officials, and organisations here and abroad.”The Commerce Department added: “Today’s action is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to put human rights at the centre of US foreign policy, including by working to stem the proliferation of digital tools used for repression.”Sky News has attempted to contact a spokesperson for NSO Group for their response.


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