Companies like NSO Group facilitate human rights abuses — it is time they are held accountable for how their invasive spyware like Pegasus is used. Access Now supports a civil lawsuit filed today in Thailand against Israeli spyware company, NSO Group, for violating the rights, including privacy, of eight people whose phones were infected by Pegasus. This is the first lawsuit that the company is facing in Southeast Asia.
“Companies that peddle their products to actors seeking to invade the privacy of people, target them for harassment, and threaten their security must be stopped,” said Dhevy Sivaprakasam, Asia-Pacific Policy Counsel at Access Now. “Pegasus victims deserve judicial protection. Thai law allows them to claim damages for this Pegasus hack, and a ruling against NSO Group will send a strong message from the judiciary that fundamental rights are respected, and civic space will be protected in Thailand.”
Earlier this year, Thai organizations, Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) and DigitalReach, supported by forensic research from Canadian Citizen Lab, released a report documenting Pegasus infections in the devices of 35 victims — including 24 activists, mostly students from the pro-democracy youth movements, who have been critical of the government and the monarchy. Five members of the political opposition, three academics, and three human rights defenders were also identified as victims.
“Spyware technology violates our right to privacy and attacks the universally-protected rights to free expression, association, and political participation. Its abuse threatens the existence of civil society as a whole and undermines legitimate political engagement,” said Golda Benjamin, Asia-Pacific Campaigner at Access Now. “Thailand prides itself on releasing the first national action plan on business and human rights in Asia, with commitments to protect human rights defenders. This lawsuit against NSO Group is a test of that plan, and the Thai government must protect the victims.”
Collective pressure from all corners is critical to holding NSO Group accountable for the facilitation of human rights abuses. Access Now continues to campaign against the unchecked use of this dangerous technology, is pushing for sector-wide accountability, and is calling for an immediate global moratorium on the sale, transfer, and use of spyware technology until a regulatory framework that protects human rights is implemented.