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Only Govt operators can deploy Pegasus: NSO

'Can target one mobile number at a time'

NSO Transparency report says Pegasus is licensed to select approved, verified and authorized states and state agencies

MUMBAI, July 22 (The CONNECT) - NSO Group has said that it does not operate the Pegasus system, and “Pegasus can only be deployed by its government operators against one mobile phone number at a time, much like a traditional wiretap.”

The tool is not designed for, nor can it be used in any manner, for mass surveillance, the Cyber intelligence sector leader said

In its “Transparency and responsibility Report” that NSO published on June 30, much before the current controversy over Pegasus erupted, the group said it only licenses its most well-known software product, Pegasus, to select approved, verified and authorized states and state agencies, specifically to be used in national security and major law enforcement-driven investigations.

The Transparency report says NSO Group was founded in 2010 with one key mission: to make the world a safer place by assisting lawful investigations by state authorities to protect the security and safety of citizens against major




crimes and terrorism. Terror organizations, drug cartels, human traffickers, pedophile rings and other criminal syndicates today exploit off-the-shelf encryption capabilities offered by mobile messaging and communications applications. These technologies provide criminals and their networks a safe haven, allowing them to “go dark” and avoid detection, communicating through impenetrable mobile messaging systems. Law enforcement and counterterrorism state agencies around the world have struggled to keep up.

“We are the first out of the gate in our industry with information that is as comprehensive and revealing as the data contained in this first yearly Report,” said NSO Group Founder and CEO Shalev Hulio. “This Transparency and Responsibility Report illustrates for the first time, and in deep detail, how NSO Group strives to guarantee that our products are used as intended – safely, effectively and ethically, and it further describes what options are available to us if we find that one of our customers has acted in bad faith, despite our extensive vetting process, by using one of our tools to monitor the electronic communications of someone who falls outside a prescribed investigative scope.

“It’s not simply enough for us to say that we take instances of misuse seriously. Here, we outline the range of options available to us if this happens, to include completely shutting down a customer’s access to our systems, as a situation may warrant, and as we have done out of necessity in the recent past,” Hulio said.

The Report, for the very first time, discloses essential facts and insights regarding the NSO Group’s position on ethical and responsible international business conduct and its governance framework. The Report provides an outline of the company’s guiding principles, and a full accounting of its ongoing and ever-evolving efforts to assure that its products are used only as they were always intended – to save lives through the prevention of serious crime and acts of terror, as well as through search-and-rescue, data analytics, anti-drone technologies, and other closely related missions and applications.

The report features comprehensive descriptions of NSO Group’s Compliance and Human Rights policies, and the procedures, processes and practices the company has developed in the course of the last several years to enhance, strengthen and formalize these policies, as well as the day-to-day implementation of these policies and safeguards throughout the company’s entire cycle of interaction with its government customers, NSO said in its announcement.

The Report includes full accountings of the structures and goals of each of NSO Group’s internal committees, overviews of the company’s internal and external policies, interactions with external legal and human rights advisors, descriptions of the NSO Group product marketing and sales life cycle, and the remedies and enforcements to be implemented should a company-driven, comprehensive investigation determine that one of its products has been misused by a state customer, the website said.

All of the processes outlined in the Report have been devised with one central goal in mind: To ensure the proper use of NSO Group’s products by its customers through the implementation of integrated steps to mitigate and prevent violations of human rights.

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