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Microsoft, Google throw weight behind Facebook in legal fight against NSO Group

NSO Group Pegasus
NSO Group Pegasus

Microsoft, Google, and a host of other companies and organisations have come out in support of  Facebook's legal case against Israeli firm NSO Group. The two companies, along with Cisco, LinkedIn, VMWare and the Internet Association, filed an amicus brief in Facebook's support, calling NSO Group's business model "dangerous". NSO Group sells the controversial "Pegasus" software, which could be used to exploit a since-then fixed vulnerability in WhatsApp to plant it on a target's device. WhatsApp had informed 1,400 of its users, including 121 Indians, that were affected by this attack. NSO Group, for its part, has always maintained, including in responses to MediaNama, that it sells its products only to governments and authorised intelligence agencies. Announcing the filing of the amicus brief in a blog post, Microsoft took objection to the "legal immunity" argument of NSO Group. It said the company is "attempting to cloak itself in the legal immunity afforded to its government customers, which would shield it from accountability when its weapons inflict harm on innocent people and businesses". It said that the legal immunity would enable NSO Group and other "private-sector offensive actors (PSOA)" to continue their "dangerous business" without legal rules, responsibilities or repercussions. Private companies should remain subject to liability when they use their cyber-surveillance tools to break the law, said Microsoft. 'Such tools will fall into wrong hands': The companies argued that the presence of tools such as Pegasus increases the risk of their falling into wrong hands. Previously, it said, such tools…

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