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Debt-ridden NSO Group may shut down controversial Pegasus spyware unit amidst growing list of challenges

Investigations, lawsuits, and government restrictions have forced the company to look for prospective buyers.

NSO Group is in danger of defaulting on its debts and is exploring shutting down its controversial Pegasus spyware unit or selling the entire company, Bloomberg reported on December 13. The company is in talks with several investment funds regarding the same, the report said citing unnamed sources. "A loan with a face value of over $300 million that NSO issued in 2019 was trading in November at an all-time low bid of 70 cents on the dollar. It was quoted Monday at a bid of 50 cents on the dollar, according to people familiar with the prices." – Bloomberg Why this matters: If NSO Groups shuts down or winds down its Pegasus operation, it will be a huge win for privacy advocates around the world as the company has become infamous for making sophisticated surveillance tech. However, the shutting down of NSO might also scuttle investigations into the misuse of Pegasus by various nation-states and legal battles launched against the company by Apple and WhatsApp. NSO Group was thrown into the spotlight in July when a consortium of media publications part of the Pegasus Project revealed that multiple governments across the world, including India, used Pegasus to target political leaders, journalists, human rights activists, businessmen, military officials, intelligence agency officials, and several others. This was in stark contradiction to what the company has always maintained: that it only sells Pegasus, which allows full remote surveillance of the targets’ phones, to governments to prevent crime and terrorism. Read: Pegasus Spyware: All The Latest…

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