U.S. Supreme Court grants WhatsApp permission to pursue Pegasus spyware lawsuit

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The United States Supreme Court has granted Meta permission to file a lawsuit accusing an Israeli company, NSO, for illegally accessing WhatsApp servers while installing a spyware known as Pegasus on users’ devices.

This came after the Supreme Court rejected NSO Group Technologies’ appeal, which claimed immunity from the lawsuit because it was acting on behalf of unidentified foreign governments. And that NSO does not meet the standard criteria for a state entity eligible for immunity. In fact, no foreign government has informed the State Department that NSO is acting on their behalf.

The suit accuses NSO Group of installing spy software on 1,400 people, including journalists, human rights activists, and dissidents, by exploiting a bug in its WhatsApp messaging app.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2019, claims that NSO violated a number of laws, including the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, by installing the “Pegasus” spyware.

NSO stated in court papers that it actually does work on behalf of unidentified foreign governments and that its Pegasus software is used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“NSO’s spyware has enabled cyberattacks targeting human rights activists, journalists and government officials. We firmly believe that their operations violate U.S. law, and they must be held to account for their unlawful operations,” Meta said.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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