Former Obama security adviser leaves Israeli firm accused of hacking

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Former Obama security adviser leaves Israeli firm accused of hacking

Professor Juliette Kayyem quits the NSO group, whose software was sold to states around the world with dubious human rights record

A security expert who advised President Obama has left an Israeli firm whose spyware has reportedly been used against human rights activists and journalists.

It emerged this week that Professor Juliette Kayyem had quit NSO Group whose Pegasus surveillance software is sold to states with dubious human rights records around the world. NSO says its technology is only meant to fight crime.

Kayyem’s departure comes after Harvard University cancelled a webinar on female journalist safety in which she was due to speak, after concerns were voiced about her participation as a paid NSO adviser.

A high-profile former Homeland Security official, Kayyem had only recently been hired by the embattled company, which says it investigates all allegations of wrongdoing by customers who license its technology.

In the US, WhatsApp is suing NSO, while the company is also facing separate lawsuits in Israel, amid reports that it is subject to an FBI investigation.

Last month Amnesty International became the latest organisation to sue, saying concerns had been raised about NSO Group for years but that its export licence still had not been revoked by the Israeli Ministry of Defence.

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