Amnesty International says that the Israeli firm behind a recent security breach, which targeted human rights activists using the WhatsApp messenger app, must be held into account for its close ties with repressive regimes.
In a statement, Amnesty urged the Israeli regime to revoke export licenses of the notorious Israeli IT firm NSO, which designed the spyware linked to the WhatsApp breach.
The London-based rights group told Reuters that the companyâ€™s deeds â€śresulted in human rights abuses.â€ť
PNN reports that WhatsApp, a unit of Facebook, admitted that hackers had managed to use the security breach on its messaging app to target human rights activists.
Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said WhatsApp had informed human rights groups that the spyware was likely developed by Israelâ€™s NSO. This was also confirmed by another person familiar with the matter.
In an emailed statement to Reuters, Amnesty asserted that NSO has â€śagain and again demonstrated their intent to avoid responsibility for the way their software is used.â€ť
It said only the Israeli regime at its highest ranks could intervene and stop the company.
NSO said, after the WhatsApp breach, that it would investigate any â€ścredible allegations of misuseâ€ť of its technology which â€śis solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.â€ť
WhatsApp, one of the worldâ€™s most popular messaging tools which is used by 1.5 billion people monthly, said it had fixed the exploit in its latest update and asked the US Department of Justice to help with an investigation into the breach.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.