WhatsApp’s lawsuit against spyware maker NSO Group can continue after a ruling from the US Supreme Court. NSO Group has been trying to challenge the case for years, but after the decision of the Supreme Court, it can be definitively continued.
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday rejected NSO Group’s appeal. In April 2022, as part of the WhatsApp lawsuit filed a petition at the Supreme Court of the United States. The company stated that it must be recognized as an agent of foreign governments. That would entitle the company to immunity under a US law that limits lawsuits against foreign countries. However, this request was rejected on Monday by the Supreme Court, allowing WhatsApp to definitively proceed with its lawsuit against NSO Group.
Meta subsidiary WhatsApp already sued NSO Group in 2019. The Pegasus spyware, of which NSO is the maker, is said to have been used to infect the phones of 1400 WhatsApp users. Those users would include at least 100 journalists or human rights activists. Last year, WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart stated that government officials would also have been spied on with Pegasus.
The lawsuit has been challenged several times by NSO Group. The company says its spyware is used by governments to combat terrorism, child abuse and other forms of crime. In 2020, the Israeli spyware developer appealed against a US judge’s ruling, which denied the company immunity, also writes Reuters. That decision was upheld by federal courts.
The spyware of NSO Group has been discredited for some time. In 2021, various journalistic media and human rights organization Amnesty International concluded that the spyware was used in hacking attempts on at least 37 journalists and activists. The US then blacklisted the spyware maker, which means that only companies with a special license are allowed to do business with NSO Group. The European privacy regulator previously argued for a ban on Pegasus in the EU. NSO is also currently being sued by Apple and by news medium El Faro.