NSO software is not dangerous, the people who use it are

fThe US Chamber of Commerce added the Israel-based NSO Group on Wednesday the list of entities for malicious cyber activities, stating that it developed tools that have allowed foreign governments with authority to monitor political opponents, dissidents and journalists to silence them.

I read the statement issued by the administration three times to make sure it was not false, but in fact it was real.

To be clear, NSO Pegasus technology does not spy on people. Governments do.

Israeli companies do not supply spyware to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but his regime watches and murders his opponents and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has thousands of protesters in jail for protesting election fraud, without the help of the NSO technology.

The Chinese regime did not buy the Pegasus software, but it still manages to spy on hundreds of millions of its own citizens and restrict their basic civil rights. The absence of trade agreements with the NSO has not stopped Beijing from persecuting its Muslim minorities. Is the United States considering cutting its trade ties with China?

The ministries of foreign affairs and defense oversee Israel’s security exports, including the sale of cyber software and technologies.

Defense Ministry Director General Amir Eshel told Ynet’s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth last week that once such cyber products are delivered to foreign governments, they can easily be used in violation of agreed limits.

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This studio photo illustration shows a smartphone with the Israel NSO Group website featuring spyware 'Pegasus', which will be exhibited in Paris on July 21, 2021.

This studio photo illustration shows a smartphone with the Israel NSO Group website featuring spyware ‘Pegasus’, which will be exhibited in Paris on July 21, 2021.

(Photo: AFP )

“Some governments, without our knowledge, have violated the terms of the license agreement. When we found out, we demanded that they stop use of the software and act to prevent further use of their product. [in illegal activities],” he said.

“Despite these efforts, there has only been partial success. States can track mobile phones to prevent terrorism, or they can misuse technology to go after opponents, without the knowledge of the seller. We at the ministry, we take extreme measures to prevent such misuse but they continue to be criticized and suffer political ramifications, as in the case of NSO, ”he said.

Chamber of Commerce officials should have been referred to the East German Stasi archives to see with their own eyes the mile-long rows of archives, containing surveillance materials on nearly every citizen of that communist regime, including recordings of wiretapped phone conversations, all made before the 1990s, without NSO’s Pegasus software.

If traveling to Germany proves too expensive for the Chamber of Commerce, its officials can see the acclaimed German film “The Lives of Others”, which is about that exact story.

The software does not pirate the media or spy on citizens in violation of their rights. These are the actions of the regimes, and the United States should hold them accountable.


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