Israel technology firm ‘NSO Group’ received a landmark ban from the Biden administration on Wednesday for selling smartphone surveillance tools. The blacklist is the strongest measure taken by the US government to curb largely unregulated global spyware abuse.
The US Department of Commerce accused the company of selling hacking spyware to foreign governments targeting specific individuals, from dissidents to members of the Catholic clergy. Security researchers caught the company’s spyware attempting to access the iPhones of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates and a journalist in Mexico.
NSO Group Spokesperson Zamir Dahbash said that the spyware was solely used to track criminal and terrorist investigations for authorized governments. The firm’s corporate mission statement: “make the world a safe place”, is advertised to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world as necessary to track kidnappers, terrorists, and drug dealers. This pitch has…