4 US Democrats slam NSO, call for ‘shutdown’ or ‘sanctions’

Kashmir Times. Dated: 7/28/2021 12:00:41 PM

NEW DELHI, Jul 27: Four well-known Democratic lawmakers have called companies like the Israeli NSO Group, which sells Pegasus spyware to governments, the “A.Q. Khans of the cyber world” and demanded that they should be shut down or at least sanctioned.
On Monday, Democrat Congress members Tom Malinowski, Katie Porter, Joaquin Castro and Anna G. Eshoo stated that the recent media reports about the usage of Pegasus spyware has shown that there was eminent need for the industry to be brought under strict regulations, a report in the Wire said.
“Enough is enough. The recent revelations regarding misuse of the NSO Group’s software reinforce our conviction that the hacking for hire industry must be brought under control,” said the statement released by the office of Malinowski.
From July 18, 16 media companies had started to release names of individuals who were listed in a database of over 50,000 phone numbers which had been compiled by clients of the Israeli spyware firm, NSO Group. The list of phone numbers had been accessed by the Paris-based journalism non-profit, Forbidden Stories, and international human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International.
The company has always maintained that it only sells its highly intrusive spyware, Pegasus, to government firms. In multiple statements, the company has denied the allegations that the list has anything to do with Pegasus infections.
The statement from the US lawmakers said that the US should be working with its allies to regulate this trade. “Companies that sell such incredibly sensitive tools to dictatorships are the A.Q. Khans of the cyber world. They should be sanctioned, and if necessary, shut down,” it said.
Describing the NSO Group’s denials as “not credible”, the lawmakers stated that it showed an “arrogant disregard for concerns that elected officials, human rights activists, journalists, and cyber-security experts have repeatedly raised”.



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