A district court in Tel Aviv has dismissed Amnesty International’s petition to stop Israeli surveillance company NSO Group from exporting spyware, finding that Amnesty was not able to show that various governments had used NSO spyware technology — namely Pegasus — to violate human rights.
Amnesty had petitioned for the revocation of NSO Group’s export license after evidence surfaced showing that various countries — including Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Mexico, and UAE — illegally used Pegasus software under the guise of national security to target human rights activists, journalists, diplomats, senior government officials, and an Amnesty employee.
Having determined that Israel’s export licensing protocol offered ample human rights safeguards, the court noted in its decision Sunday that it would “continue to supply technology to countries and intelligence agencies that is meant to save lives.”
Amnesty’s co–director of tech, Danna Ingleton, said in a statement:
NSO Group continues to profit from human rights abuses with impunity. The ruling of the court flies in the face of the mountains of evidence of NSO Group’s spyware being used to target human rights defenders from Saudi Arabia to Mexico, including the basis of this case — the targeting of one of our own Amnesty employees. We will continue to do all we can to stop NSO Group’s spyware being used to commit human rights abuses.
Ingleton said the court’s “disgraceful” ruling had delivered a “cruel blow” to people around the world and called on the global community to hold NSO Group and Israel’s Ministry of Defense accountable for their involvement in facilitating mass human rights abuses worldwide.