NSO Group Chairman Steps Down amid Domestic Spying Allegation

Tel Aviv/New Delhi:  The chairman of Israeli company NSO Group, whose Pegasus spyware has been used by the governments the world over to snoop on high-profile personalities, is stepping down after less than two years.

Asher Levi has announced his resignation after reports published in Israel revealed that the local police had also purchased the Pegasus spyware system, according to Haaretz.

“Israel Police used Pegasus to collect intelligence for investigative purposes, with no legal oversight, targeting protest leaders in the anti-Netanyahu demonstration movement, as well as mayors suspected of corruption, the report said on Tuesday, quoting financial daily Calcalist.

Levi, however, said he was leaving NSO for other reasons and is joining Novalpina Capital, a VC fund with Berkeley Research Group.

“The fund brought me in in 2020. About five months later it was replaced by BRG, and I told them I wish to finish my role as I was not appointed by them,” Levi was quoted as saying.

Calcalist also reported that a number of other firms owned by NSO have turned to the courts amid fears the company is about to default.

NSO has been blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce after Apple discovered that eleven State Department Officials in Uganda were targeted by a client of NSO last year.

The NSO Group has been placed by the Joe Biden administration on an export prohibition list that restricts it from obtaining some types of technology from the US.

In India, the Supreme Court-appointed committee probing the Pegasus spyware snooping matter has issued a public notice seeking details from people who may have felt their mobile devices may have been infected by Pegasus malware.

The panel has asked the Pegasus victims to send the information before noon of January 7, 2022.

The committee asked the citizens who have reasonable cause to suspect that her/his mobile has been compromised due to specific usage of NSO group Israel’s Pegasus software to contact it with reasons, which led them to believe that the device was infected with the malware.


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