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Home News Facebook lawsuit may increase accountability for spyware makers

Facebook lawsuit may increase accountability for spyware makers

Facebook has sued the NSO Group, a security software maker allegedly responsible for using the WhatsApp message platform to spread spyware earlier this year. The lawsuit claims the NSO Group used WhatsApp servers to deliver spyware to 1,400 mobile devices between April and May, allowing it to decrypt private messages. Facebook wants an injunction against the NSO Group barring it from using WhatsApp or Facebook services, along with damages and costs.

While at first the lawsuit seems to be focused around how the NSO Group interfered with the service, used WhatsApp servers without authorization, and additionally broke the terms of service, the lawsuit has wider implications. A later section states the NSO Group used the spyware, “to target attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, diplomats, and other senior foreign government officials.”

The NSO Group has responded to the lawsuit with a statement that concentrates solely on this accusation, stating that it provides its technology to licensed government intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and that its software is expressly made to target terrorism and serious crime. “We consider any other use of our products than to prevent serious crime and terrorism a misuse, which is contractually prohibited,” the company said.

Pegasus spyware

The software installed by the NSO Group, known as Pegasus, is “among some of the most sophisticated spyware available on the market,” according to Citizen Lab, a human rights research group that has investigated the attack. Once installed, it can steal critical data including passwords, contacts, calendars, messages, and even monitor live calls. The software can also use the microphone, GPS, and camera to further spy on the phone’s owner.

Prior to the WhatsApp hack, the NSO Group’s Pegasus software had also been linked to repeated surveillance attempts against a Moroccan investigative journalist and a human rights lawyer, Amnesty Tech uncovered in October. Amnesty International is also suing the NSO Group. Danna Ingleton, program director at Amnesty Tech, wrote at the time:

“NSO is not currently able to prevent governments from unlawfully using its surveillance technology as tools to abuse human rights. Instead of attempting to whitewash human rights violations associated with NSO products, the company must urgently put in place more effective due diligence processes to stop its spyware being abused.”

In a statement given to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) following Amnesty Tech’s report, an NSO Group spokesperson said its products are, “not tools to surveil dissidents or human rights activists. That’s why contracts with all of our customers enable the use of our products solely for the legitimate purposes of preventing and investigating crime and terrorism. If we ever discover that our products were misused in breach of such a contract, we will take appropriate action.”


Following the earlier exposure, the NSO Group introduced a new Human Rights Policy and added three high profile new advisers to its team. However, this new high profile lawsuit, brought about by one of the biggest and most known technology companies in the world, may prompt the NSO Group and other firms offering similar products, to take even further action to prevent misuse and increase accountability.

“This is the first time that an encrypted messaging provider is taking legal action against a private entity that has carried out this type of attack against its users,” WhatsApp wrote in a statement, emphasizing the significance of the lawsuit.


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Coupon code puts this slim folding treadmill at15% off for a limited time

It’s the middle of winter. The days are short and the weather is cold. There’s a pandemic still in full swing. We’re working from home and dealing with stresses from all angles. Any one of these things is enough to make one want to stay indoors. Taken as a whole? It’s the stuff of nightmares.Getting outside to be physically active isn’t likely going to happen for at least a few months. For now we’re stuck indoors and potentially putting on unwanted weight. What to do?Consider the LifePro Electrostride Compact Treadmill, a lightweight and foldable unit that just happens to be on sale right now. Normally priced at $499.99, AndroidGuys readers can save a cool 15% on the device — getting it for just $425.The treadmill boasts a 2 HP motor, up to 8.7mph speed, and a wide running track for comfort and flexibility. And with 36 presets and three customizable exercise training programs, you can always find something new or challenging to do.High-end motor reaches speeds up to 8.7mphTakes up to 198lbs max weight & 6ft max height36 preset & 3 manual training programs to adjust workoutsMultiple LED displays show your heart rate, speed, distance & calories burnedConnects to your fitness apps via BluetoothBuilt-in holder for your tablet & water bottleBMI calculator to track your weight-loss goalsFolds into a slim 5.5″ for convenient storageThere are multiple LED displays to track your heart rate, speed, distance, and calories as you walk, jog, or run. Moreover, there’s a BMI calculator and Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your favorite fitness apps.Order Yours!Normally you can purchase your LifePro Electrostride Compact Folding Treadmill in the AG Deals Store for just $499.99. But for a limited time (exp: 02/14/21), use coupon code VDAY2021 at checkout and save 15% on yours, getting it for just $425.00.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

Visible adds ZTE Blade X1 5G to lineup

ZTE and Visible on Tuesday announced that the ZTE Blade X1 5G, is available for purchase from the carrier for $384. As the first ZTE phone to offer 5G in the US, it’s an mid-range handset that’s priced a little closer to the entry level.Powered by Android 10, the ZTE Blade X1 5G provides users with a 6.5-inch FHD+ (2,340 x 1,080 pixels), with a quad-camera setup. Details there include 48-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide angle), 2-megapixel, and 2-megapixel cameras. Around front is a 16-megapixel shooter.Internally, the ZTE Blade X1 5G houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. A microSD expansion card slot allows for up to 2TB external media.Rounding out the details are a 4,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0, NFC, fingerprint reader, and 3.5mm headphone jack.Starting January 28 Visible will offer the ZTE Blade X1 5G for $384, or as low as $16 per month for 24 months. The device will also be sold through Yahoo Mobile. Both carriers operate using Verizon’s network for coverage.New subscribers who port their phone number over from an eligible carrier and activate on Visible can earn a $150 Prepaid Mastercard Virtual Account and an Amazon Fire TV Stick for a limited time.