Three Constants: Death, Taxes, and NSO?

December 8, 2022

I know the special action is interesting to some. Plus, there’s a volcanic eruption outputting. And there is the Twitter saga, the NGX drama, and exciting World Cup. (Did Spain lose to Japan to avoid Seleção Brasileira? Of course not.)

But poking through the PR fumes and rising near the flocks of legal eagles circling for prey is the NSO Group. Navigate to “Why We’re Suing NSO Group.” You will learn that El Faro, a real news outfit in the pace-setting Republic of Salvador, and its taking action against NSO Group. The company has become the touchstone for allegedly unlawful surveillance of individuals.

The write up asserts:

Beginning in June 2020, at least 22 people associated with El Faro were the targets of spyware attacks. Over a period of about 18 months, their iPhones were accessed remotely and surreptitiously, their communications and activities monitored, and their personal data stolen. Many of these attacks occurred when the journalists were communicating with confidential sources, and reporting on abuses by the Salvadoran government.

The legal action is described this way:

the Knight Institute filed suit against NSO Group on behalf of 15 of the El Faro employees whose iPhones were infected with Pegasus spyware….Our complaint explains that NSO Group’s development and deployment of the spyware violated, among other laws, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which prohibits accessing computers without authorization. We argue that our case belongs in a U.S. court because the spyware attacks violated U.S. law, because they were intended to deter journalism that is important to hundreds of thousands of American readers, and because NSO Group’s development and deployment of Pegasus involved deliberate and sustained attacks on the U.S. infrastructure of U.S. technology companies—including Apple, which itself sued NSO Group last year, contending that the spyware manufacturer had damaged its business and harmed its users.

Death, taxes, and NSO—Are these three constants of modern life?

Stephen E Arnold, December 8, 2022


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