Spyware NSO Pegasus interested in US investors

NSO, the company behind the Pegasus spyware that intercepts human rights activists and journalists, among others, is likely to be sold. The tentative plan appears to be to deploy spy tools on behalf of the US.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz NSO is in talks with various American investment firms. One of them, the Integrity Partner, will be very concrete. For example, there is a letter with a concrete intention to restructure the company as a whole.

According to the letter, Integrity Partners will establish a subsidiary, Integrity Labs, which will run NSO, along with a $300 million investment in the company. At the same time, efforts are underway to make the company reacceptable, at least in the US, where it is now blacklisted.

Spyware ‘legal’

NSO makes spyware available to other countries. It’s officially legal and for tracking down terrorists, among other things. But in practice, spyware is also offered to less democratic and unethical regimes, which have used it to target human rights activists and journalists, as well as US officialsto eavesdrop and thus hinder.

American tech companies too very angry At the company. Including WhatsApp (Meta) and iPhone (Apple) is so audible. The Israeli government has also not enthusiastic about software being offered to some 37 regimes, often for purposes unrelated to terrorism. The latest case is two poles, who is politically active and clashes with the current government, another wrote a book about the head of the Polish secret service.

Five Eyes

According to the letter of intent that Haaretz can view, NSO will only work for the so-called Five Eyes with its new owners. It was the cooperation of the intelligence services of the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. That means, on the one hand, less democratic regimes can no longer use spyware. On the other hand, the US is also known as a country that spy heart, even among European allies and their heads of government.

Another area of ​​focus is lobbying to reduce pressure from US tech companies whose devices and apps are being abused to hack phones. Spyware Pegasus will also remain in development.

Haaretz asked for NSO’s response, in which the company confirmed it was talking to the acquirer, but called the concrete plans ‘tend to be wrong’ with ‘half-truths’.

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Astrid Marshman

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