JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A group of staff of the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group has filed a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. on Tuesday, saying that the social media giant that had been wrongly blocked, for their own accounts if the local NSO last month.
FILE PHOTO: People hold smart phones with the Facebook logo in the front of the display of the “top secret”, and “e-mail” word in the picture, image, December 6, 2018. REUTERS/dado Ruvic/File Photo
The Messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, had accused NSO in its legal action, filed in the state of California in the last month, with the help of the government spies to break into the phones of approximately 1,400 users across four continents, in a hacking spree, in which the targets included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, and senior government officials.
The NSO of employees say that their Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as those of the ex-employees, and family members, was being blocked. They have petitioned the Tel Aviv District Court has ordered Facebook to block the accounts, which they claim was done abruptly and without notice to you.
Facebook said in a statement that it had been disabled, “the relevant accounts”, following the award of a “sophisticated cyber-attack to the NSO Group and its members. Those actions continue to be necessary for the safety, including the prevention of any additional attacks,” the company said.
It added that it had re-enabled some of the accounts, by means of an appeal to the courts.
In its statement, the NSO staff said Facebook had set out a “collective punishment” by choosing to block it out of their own accounts due to the legal process by Facebook against the NSO. They also said that their trial took place after a number of requests on Facebook that went unanswered.
“The blocking of our own accounts, it is a painful and unjust move by Facebook,” the statement said. “The idea is that the private information had to be found and used, it is very good value for money for us.”
The staff said that they were going to “help governments across the world to prevent crime and terrorism, due to the technology we are developing”.
WhatsApp accused of NSO to facilitate the government’s hacking attack in 20 different countries. In Mexico, the United Arab Emirates (uae) and saudi arabia were the only countries to be identified.
NSO was founded in 2009, denies the allegations.
Speaking at a technology conference in Tel Aviv on Monday, chairman of the board, Shiri Dolev, defended her company, saying, NSO, technologies in the world to make it safer. Dolev said that she wanted the NSO was able to talk openly about the role that it plays in helping law enforcement agencies is to catch terrorists.
“The terrorists and criminals make use of social media and apps we all use every day…,” she said.
Dolev added that the NSO does not have the technology, or the hacking of a phone. “We are developing technology that we can only sell to the government, the intelligence services,” she said.
Reporting by Steven Scheer; additional reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Gareth Jones and Tom Brown