Amnesty International is taking legal advice in order to revoke the export licence of Israeli-based NSO Group, after it was revealed the cyber firm’s spyware had been used in an attempt to spy on an Amnesty staff member.

Amnesty International is a global Human Rights movement of more than 7 million members.

A recent investigation by Haaretz newspaper uncovered the firm’s sophisticated surveillance tool “Pegasus” was offered to authorities in Saudi Arabia last year.

The paper cites a complaint filed with the Israeli police by a European businessman, who claims that NSO representatives in 2017 offered their Pegasus 3 technology to high-profile Saudi officials. The mobile phone spyware needs only a phone number to ensnare a device. The Saudis included former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal and Nasser al-Qahtani, a man who “presented himself as the deputy of the current intelligence chief”

Two weeks ago, Amnesty International Israel submitted an urgent request to the Israeli Ministry of Defence, demanding that NSO Group’s defence export licence be revoked in light of an attempted cyber attack on an Amnesty staff member via NSO’s spyware.

Saudi Arabia King Salman and Crown Prince Murqen Mohammed
Saudi Arabia King Salman and Crown Prince Murqen Mohammed

But this week, the Israeli Defense Ministry refused to revoke the firm’s licence, causing Amnesty International to consider seeking legal action.

“We thoroughly reject this inadequate response. The mountain of evidence and reports on NSO Group and the sale of its spyware to human rights-violating regimes is substantial proof that NSO has gone rogue”, said Molly Malekar, Programs Director of Amnesty International Israel.

“The Ministry of Defense must answer for their failure to properly regulate NSO Group as they are in charge of controlling Israeli Defence Export.

“By continuing to approve of NSO Group, the Ministry of Defence is practically admitting to knowingly cooperating with NSO Group as their software is used to commit human rights abuses.” Maleker Said.

Contributed by Sputnik News