A Tel Aviv District Court on Monday rejected a lawsuit, supported by Amnesty International, seeking to force the Defense Ministry to revoke the security export license of Israeli spyware company NSO Group.
The NSO Group, an Israeli cyber tech company is best known for Pegasus, its innovative spyware that enables remote surveillance of smartphones.
The legal action was brought forth by a number of petitioners including Amnesty International, which claimed that the NSO spyware technologies have been used to target journalists and activists around the world, including in Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
The court however ruled that it had confidence in the thorough and sensitive process used by the Defense Ministry to grant such licenses.
The ruling also stated that the Defense Ministry continues to supervise and monitor companies after licenses are issued. Additionally, the court found that the petitioners did not provide enough evidence to substantiate their claims of an attempt to monitor a human rights activist.
Danna Ingleton, acting Co-Director of Amnesty Tech called the ruling "disgraceful" and asid it was a "cruel blow to people put at risk around the world by NSO Group selling its products to notorious human rights abusers."
“NSO Group continues to profit from human rights abuses with impunity. The ruling of the court flies in the face of the mountains of evidence of NSO Group’s spyware being used to target human rights defenders from Saudi Arabia to Mexico, including the basis of this case - the targeting of one of our own Amnesty employees. We will continue to do all we can to stop NSO Group’s spyware being used to commit human rights abuses," she added.