Last year, Facebook took legal action against NSO, accusing it of hijacking WhatsApp to hack activist phones.
Coalition of human rights groups joined Facebook lawsuit against Israeli spyware vendor on Wednesday NSO, alleging that the company “favors profit to the detriment of human rights”.
The organizations – including the Internet rights group Access Now, London-based Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists – have filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief to support Facebook’s fight against NSO, which the social media giant accuses of subverting its WhatsApp instant messaging service to hack the phones of human rights activists and dissidents around the world.
The brief, filed in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, adds weight to the legal battle between Facebook and NSO, which began in October 2019. On Monday, a group of tech giants, including Microsoft, Google, Dell and Cisco, filed an amicus brief warning that NSO’s hacking tools pose a threat to the safety of users on the Internet.
The advocacy coalition that filed the brief on Wednesday includes the Indian Internet Freedom Foundation, the Africa-focused Paradigm Initiative, London-based Privacy International, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the group R3D Mexican rights advocate. Earlier this week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed its own amicus brief alleging that NSO had become “known to facilitate human rights violations.”
NSO is the most well-known of a multitude of Israeli companies that sell hacking software to government customers. He has long been pursued by allegations of complicity in improper surveillance.
NSO did not immediately return a message asking for comment on the latest filing, but the company argued that since it provides digital break-in tools to law enforcement and spy services, it should benefit from “Sovereign immunity” – a legal doctrine that generally protects foreigners. governments against prosecution.
NSO lost that argument in the Northern District of California in July and appealed to the Ninth Circuit to have the decision overturned.