Opinion: The Israeli-based company does not hack media outlets or spy on citizens in violation of their rights, these are the actions of regimes; U.S. should hold them accountable instead of blacklisting legitimate businesses
https://www.ynetnews.com/-Sever Plocker –
NSO logo(Photo: Shutterstock)
fThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday added the Israeli-based NSO Group to the Entity List for Malicious Cyber Activities, claiming it developed tools that have enabled foreign authoritative governments to surveil political opponents, dissidents and journalists in order to silence them.
I read the statement issued by the administration three times to make sure it was not bogus, but it was in fact real.
To be clear, the NSO Pegasus technology does not spy on people. Governments do.
Israeli companies do not supply Russian President Vladimir Putin with spyware, yet his regime surveils and murders its opponents and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has t thousands of demonstrators to jail for protesting election fraud – with no help from the NSO technology.
The Chinese regime did not purchase the Pegasus software but still manages to spy on hundreds of millions of its own citizens and curtail their basic civil rights. The absence of commercial agreements with NSO has not prevented Beijing from persecuting its Muslim minorities. Is the United States considering cutting its commercial ties with China?
The foreign and defense ministries oversee Israel’s security exports, including the sale of cyber technologies and software.
Director General of the Defense Ministry 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 the agreed boundaries.
“Some governments, unbeknownst to us, have violated the terms of the licensing agreement. When we find out, we demanded that they stop the use of the software and act to prevent further use of its product [in illegal activities],” he said.
“Despite these efforts, there has been only partial success. States can track mobile phones in order to prevent terrorism, or they can misuse the technology to persecute opponents, without the knowledge of the seller. We, at the ministry, take extreme steps to prevent such misuse but are still criticized and suffer political ramifications, such as in the case of NSO,” he said.
The Chamber of Commerce officials should have been referred to the East German Stasi archives to see with their own eyes the miles-long rows of files, containing surveillance materials on nearly all citizens of that communist regime, including recordings of tapped phone conversations – all done before the 1990s, without NSO’s Pegasus software.
Should travel to Germany be too costly for the Chamber of Commerce, its officials can watch the acclaimed German film, “The Lives of Others,” dealing with that exact history.
Software does not hack media outlets, or spy on citizens in violation of their rights. These are the actions of regimes and the United States should hold them accountable.