Manager says NSO keeping owners 'in the dark'
According to consultants acting on behalf of the controversial company's owners, the Israeli company is avoiding questions about the "legality" of its operations.
Berkeley Research Group (BRG), the US consultant hired last year to run the private equity fund that controls 70% of NSO, has informed EU legislators that its inquiries into NSO's "legitimacy" were "ignored and/or thwarted" by the management team.
BRG lawyers wrote a letter to MPs that the "historical leadership of the NSO group" and "possible ongoing activities in relation to it" are being kept in the dark from BRG.
Read more: Spanish PM, Defense Minister hacked with Israeli NSO Pegasus
BRG's attorneys stated in a letter to MPs last month that the firm has been “investigating the historical and ongoing management and conduct of NSO Group’s businesses” since August, including compliance with a US trade blacklist.
According to the letter, the investigations have raised more questions than answers, while the NSO claims it “adheres to a very strict legal and regulatory framework in all relevant areas of operations."
The case adds to the saga of NSO, which was once an asset exploited by "Israel" as a diplomatic calling card but is now being sued by Meta and Apple and has been blacklisted by the US.
Read more: FBI secretly bought Pegasus in 2019, used it domestically: NYT
The NSO Pegasus program is capable of infiltrating a smartphone and mirroring its encrypted material. The malware was discovered last year as being used to spy on the cellphones of 37 journalists, human rights campaigners, and other significant persons like Emmanuel Macron.
Read more: Israeli PEGASUS Spying on Journalists, Activists Worldwide
In April, the European Parliament launched an investigation on the use of surveillance software in EU member states.
Sophie in't Veld, the Dutch MEP in charge of the investigation, stated that the BRG letter highlights issues "at the heart of what we want to know" and that MEPs will debate its contents with NSO.
“We need to know how they work and how their products are sold to governments and non-state actors,” she said. “There is no clarity as to how much access to information they have. We do not know it.”
When the US blacklisted NSO last year, it stated that the corporation had sold software to other countries, which had been used to "maliciously attack" government officials, journalists, businesses, activists, academics, and diplomatic personnel.