US sanctions two Israeli spyware firms for working with states that ‘target’ journalists
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

US sanctions two Israeli spyware firms for working with states that ‘target’ journalists

NSO Group and Candira were placed on the list of companies sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Commerce,

(Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash)
(Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash)

The United States sanctioned two Israeli spyware companies for working with foreign governments that the U.S. accused of using the tools to “threaten the rules-based international order.”

NSO Group and Candira were placed on the list of companies sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with two other companies based in Russia and Singapore on Wednesday.

The department added that the companies provided spyware to actors who used it “to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers.”

NSO Group is the creator of Pegasus, a spyware that can take over a target’s cellphone and collect data from it. The company was at the centre of reporting by a consortium of news organisations, called the Pegasus Project, which detailed the ways in which foreign governments and actors has used the technology to target journalist, activists and others. In 2019, WhatsApp sued NSO Group for allegedly using the app to access the phones of 1400 WhatsApp users, including journalists and activists.

The sanctions mean the companies can no longer use American technologies, though American customers can still purchase their products.

While the U.S. said the sanctions were limited to the companies and would not take any actions against Israel’s government, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said the U.S. would conduct “further discussions” with Israel over the matter, according to The Washington Post. Exports of the company’s technology are subject to approval by Israel’s Defense Ministry, as are any weapons exported from the country.

Israeli media reported that Israel’s government was notified of the decision to sanction the companies one hour before the announcement was made.

“We look forward to further discussions with the government of Israel about ensuring that these companies’ products are not used to target human rights defenders, journalists and others who shouldn’t be targeted,” said Ned Price, a State Department spokesman.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said the sanctions were part of the Biden administration’s commitment “to put human rights at the centre of U.S. foreign policy.”

“The United States is committed to aggressively using export controls to hold companies accountable that develop, traffic, or use technologies to conduct malicious activities that threaten the cybersecurity of members of civil society, dissidents, government officials, and organisations here and abroad,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said in a statement.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments