Jordan in talks with Israeli spyware firm: report

Jordan in talks with Israeli spyware firm: report
The controversial NSO Group has sold hacking software to countries across the globe, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
2 min read
22 April, 2021
NSO Group has been linked to the targeting of dissidents [Getty]
Jordan has been involved in negotiations in acquiring hacking technology from a controversial Israeli spyware firm, according to a new report.

Talks between Jordanian authorities and NSO Group began late last year, Axios reported on Wednesday.

It is unclear whether the two parties agreed a deal to acquire new NSO spyware to monitor messaging services. One source told Axios that a contract was signed, while another said it was unclear if the deal was finalised.

Jordan is thought to have previously acquired spyware from NSO but details of the kingdom's use of the hacking technology are scarce.

NSO has faced increasing criticism in recent years over its sale of spyware to authoritarian governments across the globe.

The company's Pegasus spyware enables buyers to hack mobile phones, allowing them to read text messages, track locations and access the device's camera and microphone.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are all reported to have bought and used the spyware to target dissidents at home and abroad.

Riyadh's use of the Pegasus software has been linked to the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi and Emirati governments were also linked last year to the hacking of the phones of dozens of journalists working for Qatar's Al-Jazeera network and Al-Araby TV.

The allegations have exposed NSO to multiple lawsuits, including a US claim by tech giants Facebook, Microsoft and Google.

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