U.S. intelligence bill takes aim at commercial spyware makers – TipsClear

A newly released draft intelligence bill passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week would require the government to expand the threats posed by commercial spyware and surveillance technology.

The annual Intelligence Authorization bill, published on Thursday, will target private-sector spyware manufacturers, such as the NSO Group and the hacking team, creating spyware and hacking tools designed to sabotage victims’ devices to conduct surveillance. Huh. Both NSO groups And the hacking team says they only sell their hacking tools to governments, but critics say its customers include autocratic and authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

If passed, the bill would direct the director of National Intelligence to “both House and Senate Intelligence Committees within six months” from threats used by foreign governments and commercially available cyber intrusion and other surveillance technology entities Submit a report. ” US citizens, residents and federal employees.

The report must also note whether any spyware or surveillance technology has been created by US companies, and export controls must be implemented to prevent that technology from being taken into the hands of unfriendly foreign governments.

Sen ron widen (D-OR) was the only member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that voted against the bill, citing a “broken, expensive decalcification system”, but praised the inclusion of a commercial spyware provision.

Commercial spyware and surveillance technology became a mainstream news two years before the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whom the U.S. Intelligence was personally ordered by the country’s day factor leader, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A lawsuit filed by a Saudi dissident and Khashogi’s friend accused the NSO group of selling its mobile hacking tool, Pegasus, to the Saudi regime, which had allegedly used technology to spy on Khargegi shortly before his assassination. . The NSO denies the claims.

The NSO is currently embroiled in a legal battle over Facebook, which allegedly exploited WhatsApp to deliver spyware to the cell phones of 1,400 users, including government officials, journalists and human rights activists, using an Amazon cloud server based in the US has gone. And Frankfurt.

In a separate incident, a human rights expert at the United Nations Has called for an investigation into allegations that the Saudi government used its spyware to hack into Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos’ phone. The NSO has denied the claims.

The NSO has repeatedly denied the allegations.

John Scott-Raylton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School at the University of Toronto, told TipsClear that the bill’s draft provisions “may not come at a more critical time.”

“Reporting throughout the security industry, as well as actions by Apple, Google, Facebook and others, has made it clear that [spyware] Is a problem on a large scale and is dangerous to American national security and these companies, ”said Scott-Railton. “Commercial spyware used by governments is the ‘next Huawei’ in terms of protecting Americans and should be considered a serious security threat.”

“He brought himself to the point, claiming over the years that everything was fine, despite the evidence in every sphere of American and global society, was a problem,” he said.

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