Israel’s defense ministry is reportedly imposing new limits on where the country’s cybersecurity firms can sell their surveillance and hacking tools, sharply reducing the list of countries approved for such deals.
Notably absent from the new list are Israel’s new allies under last year’s Abrahamic Agreement: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. The Jerusalem Post said on Thursday that by cutting action List of approved nations from 102 to 37, Ministry of Defense also excluded “Behind the Scenes Allies” Saudi Arab.
Countries that have avoided the purse include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, South Korea and dozens of European countries. According For Israel’s Calcalist newspaper.
The move comes after the US Commerce Department earlier this month blacklisted Israeli firms NSO Group and Candiru allegedly supplied spyware to governments that used the technology to abuse human rights. “These tools have also enabled foreign governments to conduct international repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists to quell dissent outside their sovereign borders,” Washington said. “Such practices threaten the rules-based international order.”
Apple announced Tuesday that it is suing NSO over its Pegasus phone-hacking spyware, which was allegedly used to infect thousands of iPhones around the world. Those phones were sabotaged to allow customers to target dissidents, activists, journalists and politicians. Military-grade technology is designed to be used to prevent crime and terrorism.
According to Moody’s Investors Service, NSO is facing a possible default of $500 million in debt amid legal troubles and declining revenue.
The Israeli Defense Ministry told Calcalist that it “Persistent Reevaluation” Its policy on export of cyber security products. “The State of Israel only allows the export of cyber products to government organizations, which are used for the purposes of preventing and investigating crime and fighting terror,” Ministry said.
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