The ban is the strongest step an American president has taken to curb abuses in the global market for spyware.
By David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth, Ana Swanson and Ronen Bergman| The New York Times | Nov 3, 2021
…the Biden administration warned that the surveillance software was being abused by authoritarian nations.
In a remarkable breach with Israel over one of its most successful technology companies, the Biden administration on Wednesday blacklisted the NSO Group, saying the company knowingly supplied spyware that has been used by foreign governments to “maliciously target” the phones of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and others.
The firm, and another Israeli company, Candiru, acted “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the Commerce Department said, a striking accusation against a business that operates under the direct supervision of the Israeli government.
The ban is the strongest step an American president has taken to curb abuses in the global market for spyware, which has gone largely unregulated. The move by the Commerce Department was driven by NSO’s export around the world of a sophisticated surveillance system known as Pegasus, which can be remotely implanted in smartphones.