US Supreme Court gives nod to WhatsApp lawsuit over ‘Pegasus’ spyware


Washington, Jan 10

The US Supreme Court has declined to block a WhatsApp lawsuit that alleged that Israeli spyware maker NSO Group unlawfully accessed WhatsApp servers when installing Pegasus on users' devices.

NBC News reported that the SC turned away NSO Group's appeal arguing that "it was immune from the lawsuit because it was acting on behalf of unidentified foreign governments".

The case will now move forward in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

The lawsuit was filed in October 2019 that alleged that NSO unlawfully accessed WhatsApp servers, enabling it to conduct surveillance of 1,400 people, including journalists and human rights activists.

News organisations and watchdogs have exposed how NSO's flagship product, Pegasus, was sold with the permission of the Israeli Defence Ministry to authoritarian governments who used it to hack the phones of foreign activists, lawyers and politicians.

The NSO Group has been blacklisted by the US government on doing business with tech companies based in the country.

Tech giant Apple in November 2021 also filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group, seeking a permanent injunction to ban the Israeli company from using any Apple software, services or devices.

Apple admitted that a small number of its users may have been targeted by a NSO Group's exploit to install Pegasus on Apple devices.

Apple also sent threat notification alerts to victims of state-sponsored hackers, beginning with Thailand, El Salvador and Uganda.


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