Dictators are using spyware to persecute dissidents and journalists at an alarming rate, while the foreign firms that sell these tools assure the public that everything is just fine. It’s time Washington policymakers and lawmakers rein in the proliferation and abuse of software that ends up killing innocent people. This isn’t just a human rights issue. It’s also a matter of U.S. national security.
Israel-based NSO Group is only one in a growing group of companies that has put powerful spyware tools previously available only to a few governments out on the open market. Its Pegasus software, according to human rights groups and independent investigators, has been used in as many as 45 countries, often by authoritarian leaders to aid the persecution of dissidents, journalists and other innocent civilians.
What hasn’t been previously reported is that NSO is working with a group of Washington-based consultants and law firms to craft its export and ethics policies, including Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm run by former top U.S. intelligence and national security officials. But if recent reports of alleged continued abuse of the software are true, the system NSO and its consultants have devised for preventing abuse is clearly failing.
Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.