Israeli firm's spyware

This is a major news item. Everybody has something to say about it. So how did this happen?

Who might have made such a list and who would give it to Amnesty and Forbidden Stories?

NSO is one of the Israeli companies that is used to monetize the work of the Israel’s military intelligence unit 8200. ‘Former’ members of 8200 move to NSO to produce spy tools which are then sold to foreign governments. The license price is $7 to 8 million per 50 phones to be snooped at. It is a shady but lucrative business for the company and for the state of Israel.

But back to the real issue:

  • Who has the capacity to make a list of 50,000 phone numbers that include at least 1,000 who were spied on with NSO’s software?
  • Who can ‘leak’ such a list to some NGO and make sure that lots of ‘western’ media jump onto it?
  • Who has an interest in shutting NSO down or to at least make its business more difficult?

The competition I’d say. And the only real one in that field is the National Security Agency of the United States.

The U.S. often uses ‘intelligence’ as a kind of diplomatic currency that keeps other countries dependent on it. If the Saudis have to ask the U.S. for snooping on someone it is much easier to have influence over them. NSO is disturbing that business. There is also the problem that the first class spying software NSO is selling to somewhat shady customers might well fall into the hands of some big U.S. adversary.

AWs has for years known about NSO’s activities. NSO has been using CloudFront, a content delivering network owned by Amazon:

That protection is no longer valid. NSO will have quite some problems to replace such a convenient service.

Israel will whine about it but it seems to me that the U.S. has decided to shut NSO down.

For you and me that will only marginally lower the risk of being spied on.

moon of Alabama

I read in moon of Alabama that the number of demonstrators in Cuba was a couple of dozen, at most a hundred, they were all being paid and that all of the videos were fake. Just posting this as evidence of the journalistic accuracy of the source.

Israel is more concerned about ice cream than their spyware
apple news

The day after the NSO story broke, there was an announcement from another company that would eclipse talk of the rogue use of surveillance spyware. Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would cease the sale of its products in the “occupied Palestinian territories”. By midweek one had to squint to find NSO in the Israeli media, as the ice cream incident was dominating headlines. Persecution of human rights defenders, sabotaging freedom of the press, surveillance of political opposition and possible links to grisly murder all took second place

The ensuing ice cream fever offers a penetrating view into Israel’s public priorities. Orna Barbivai, Israel’s minister of economy, made a video of her dumping Ben & Jerry’s containers in the bin, while former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote a cheeky tweet supporting a counter-boycott. Foreign minister and alternate prime minster Yair Lapid called Ben and Jerry’s move a “shameful surrender to antisemitism”. Channel 13’s US-based correspondent raced to the company’s home state of Vermont to cover breaking developments, and Israel’s president called it “a new kind of terrorism”.

Aside: Having the prime minister of Israel equate a political boycott against Israel as antisemitism benefits anti-Semites more than Jews.

The US ‘investments’ in Israel fund military development, the digital world is the war front and every point is the battle field.