Internet giant Google on Tuesday named what it said are some of the worst offenders in the surveillance software industry and called on the United States and its allies to do more to rein in the sale and misuse of spy tools.
Spyware firms often say their products are meant for the use of governments for national security, but the technology has been repeatedly found to have been used to hack into the phones of civil society, political opposition and journalists in the last decade. The industry has faced increasing scrutiny since the Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware was found on the phones of various people globally, including human rights defenders.
In a report on Tuesday, Google researchers said that while NSO is better known, there are dozens of smaller firms contributing to the dangerous proliferation of spy technology.
The findings by Google are, however, significant because the company has some of the best visibility into hacking campaigns globally, given the vast breadth of its online offerings.