NSO group that owns Pegasus software mulling over filing defamation suit against The Wire

NSO, a Tel-Aviv based firm that owns the spyware Pegasus on Sunday slammed leftist propaganda website The Wire, and threatened to file defamation suit against it for publishing a report that claimed phones of journalists, Indian ministers, Supreme Court judges, opposition leaders and other notable personalities were targeted for surveillance.

The Israeli firm, through its defamation counsel, Clare Locke, sent a letter to The Wire threatening defamation suit against them for making unsubstantiated claims through their reports about the surveillance of eminent individuals in India.

“…we are writing to put The Wire on written notice of NSO Group’s substantial concerns regarding the false and damaging nature of the proposed articles—and the risks that The Wire faces should it decide to publish the proposed articles (or excerpts of the proposed articles,” the statement read.

“The report by Forbidden Stories is full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories that raise serious doubts about the reliability and interests of the sources. It seems like the ‘unidentified sources’ have supplied information that has no factual basis and is far from reality,” the company said in the statement.
“In fact, these allegations are so outrageous and far from reality that NSO is considering a defamation lawsuit,” the statement said. The company lambasted The Wire for not doing due diligence and publishing report without verifying the facts of the matter.

Coming down heavily against The Wire, the statement said: “Needless to say, one would expect that, before such serious and damaging allegations would be published, any responsible news outlet would require multiple on-the-record sources, a fulsome understanding and transparent analysis of relevant data, documentation corroborating the core allegations, and corroboration by credible sources who have been independently vetted by senior editors and in-house attorneys to have been in a position to observe or corroborate the key facts.”

The group also said that it is considering a defamation suit against the writers of the Pegasus story as it is not based on facts and there are no supporting documents to corroborate the allegations.

The statement further added that the claims made by sources to Forbidden Stories are based on an incorrect interpretation of data from accessible and overt basic information, such as HLR Lookup services, which have no bearing on the list of the customers’ targets of Pegasus or any other NSO products.

The NSO said the claim that data was leaked from their server is an arrant lie and preposterous because they don’t store data on any of their servers.

Refuting the allegations related to the assassination of The Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in October 2018 in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, NSO said that its technology was never used to spy on him.

Pegasus technology sold only to trusted law enforcement and intelligence agencies of vetted governments

The organisation reiterated that it provides technology to “law enforcement and intelligence agencies of vetted governments for the sole purpose of saving lives through preventing crime and terror acts”. It further added that it had no access to system operations and visible data.

“We would like to emphasize that NSO sells its technologies solely to law enforcement and intelligence agencies of vetted governments for the sole purpose of saving lives through preventing crime and terror acts. NSO does not operate the system and has no visibility to the data,” it stated.