Facebook and Israeli surveillance company NSO Group have been locked in an ongoing legal battle for months, with Facebook claiming in October that the tech group used the WhatsApp platform to launch attacks that violated U.S. law. This week, Facebook escalated the fight even further, revealing the alleged dirty tricks that were used in the scheme.
According to Facebook’s lawsuit, NSO Group used U.S.-based servers to infect hundreds of smart phones with spyware. The targets of this widespread attack included lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, government officials and more. For its part, the tech company strongly denied the allegations, saying that its tools can’t function in the U.S.
“Our products are used to stop terrorism, curb violent crime, and save lives,” an NSO spokesperson said in a statement. “NSO Group does not operate the Pegasus software for its clients, nor can it be used against U.S. mobile phone numbers, or against a device within the geographic bounds of the United States.”
Of course, that defense conveniently leaves out the use of servers in the U.S. — the very thing Facebook is concerned about.
On the one hand, it’s encouraging that Facebook is taking such strong legal action to protect its users from potential bad actors. But on the other, it’s a little scary how easily NSO Group was able to allegedly take advantage of the platform in the first place.
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