Google, Microsoft join Facebook's legal battle against infamous spyware vendor

23 Dec 2020

Google, Microsoft, Cisco and Dell Technologies have filed an amicus brief to support Facebook’s legal battle against spyware vendor NSO Group.

In the brief submitted to the federal courts, the tech companies warned that NSO's tools were “powerful and dangerous.”

Last year, Facebook-owned WhatsApp filed a legal suit against NSO, alleging that its software was used to hack 1,400 devices worldwide via a vulnerability in the messaging service.

According to a Reuters report, in its response to Facebook’s lawsuit, NSO argued that since its tools are being used by law enforcement and spy agencies, it should benefit from “sovereign immunity” - a legal doctrine that generally insulates foreign governments from lawsuits.

 
 
 

The spyware firm lost that argument in the Northern District of California in July and has since filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit to have the ruling overturned.

This week Microsoft, Alphabet-owned Google, Cisco, Dell-owned VMWare, and the Washington-based Internet Association have joined forces with Facebook to argue against that. In their amicus brief, they noted that awarding sovereign immunity to the company would lead to a proliferation of hacking technology and "more foreign governments with powerful and dangerous cyber surveillance tools."

In a blog post titled, “Cyber Mercenaries Don’t Deserve Immunity,” Microsoft detailed why NSO Group’s actions are concerning, and why the company doesn’t deserve the immunity it’s seeking.

 

“We believe the NSO Group’s business model is dangerous and that such immunity would enable it and other PSOAs to continue their dangerous business without legal rules, responsibilities or repercussions,” the company said.

Source: <https://www.itp.net/security/95280-google-microsoft-join-facebooks-legal-battle-against-infamous-spyware-vendor>

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