In 2019, Botswana filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, an Israeli company, for selling spyware.
With the help of their equipment, more than 1,400 WhatsApp accounts were hacked, and it was reported that they used the service’s vulnerabilities to send messages. Other companies such as the Internet Association, Cisco, BMW, Kitab and LinkedIn also supported Facebook in this fight. In response to the company’s lawsuit, the NSO team defended itself against international immunity by selling equipment to foreign governments. However, the request was rejected this July and the company is now appealing against such a decision.
That’s why Microsoft and other companies are trying to point out how not to get that company immune! The Microsoft announcement that “cyber mercenaries are incompetent” pointed to three reasons why they believe the NSO group’s activities are dangerous.
“We believe their business model is risky and will allow other private sectors to continue their risky business without such immunity legal provisions, responsibilities and consequences,” Microsoft said.
They add that the company’s “weapons” are very dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. They further point out that such tools are not subject to the same restrictions as those made by a private company and not by a government security company. Governments need to take care of diplomatic relations and protect their populations, which private companies do not have to do. Ultimately, they say, tea bars are a danger to humanity and have been used against journalists (Mexican and Al Jazeera agency journalists) and human rights defenders (some Spanish politicians).
“Private companies should be held accountable when they use Internet surveillance technology to break the law, or knowing that it will be used for such purposes regardless of who the customer is or what they are trying to achieve,” Microsoft concludes. “We hope to partner with our competitors to help protect our customers and the global digital ecosystem.”