Updated: Nov 03, 2021 21:08 IST
Washington [US], November 3 (ANI): The US added the Israeli spyware company NSO Group — Israeli technological firm and maker of the Pegasus software — to its “entity list,” a federal blacklist prohibiting the company from receiving some American technologies, reported The Washington Post.
The blacklisting came after determining the company’s phone-hacking tools had been used by foreign governments to “maliciously target government officials, journalists, business people, activists, academics, and embassy workers”.
The action is part of the Biden 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’, according to the US Commerce Department.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina M Raimondo said in a statement on Wednesday: “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 organizations here and abroad.”
The move is a significant sanction against a company spotlighted in July by the global Pegasus Project consortium, including The Washington Post and 16 other news organisations worldwide. The consortium published dozens of articles detailing misuse of the Pegasus spyware by customers of NSO.
The NSO Group has consistently denied the findings of the Pegasus Project, which found that some of NSO’s dozens of law enforcement, military and intelligence customers in more than 40 countries target journalists, politicians and human rights workers on a routine basis with Pegasus, which can hack into a victim’s cellphone. NSO has acknowledged problems with certain customers in the past, according to The Washington Post.
Last month, the Supreme Court formed a three-member committee to oversee a technical committee comprising of three members, including those who are experts in cyber security, digital forensics, networks and hardware, which will probe the Pegasus spyware case.
The Supreme Court had formed a three-member technical committee for probe into Pegasus spyware case in India, including those who are experts in cyber security, digital forensics, networks and hardware, which will probe the Pegasus spyware case.
The committee will be supervised by retired judge Justice R V Raveendran and will examine the allegations thoroughly and expeditiously and place a report before the court. (ANI)