Republican lawmakers press Apple and FBI over spyware from Israeli NSO Group

Two Republican lawmakers are pressing Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Pegasus spyware made by the Israeli company NSO Group.

The New York Times reported earlier this year that the FBI had acquired surveillance technology from the NSO Group. Pegasus is a spy tool that lets users hack into phones and access messages on encrypted apps, all without requiring the victim to click on a malware link.

breaking into Apple iPhones: iPhone passcode lock screen
iPhone passcode lock screen

Lauren Feiner for CNBC:

The letters, dated Thursday and signed by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and subcommittee on civil rights Ranking Member Mike Johnson, R-La., come after The New York Times reported earlier this year that the FBI had acquired surveillance technology from the NSO Group.

“The Committee is examining the FBI’s acquisition, testing, and use of NSO’s spyware, and potential civil liberty implications of the use of Pegasus or Phantom against U.S. persons,” the letter to Apple says…

In their letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan and Johnson said they found the FBI’s acquisition of NSO spyware to be “deeply troubling and presents significant risks to the civil liberties of U.S. persons.”

In their letter to Apple, Jordan and Johnson asked CEO Tim Cook to provide details about Apple’s ability to detect when iPhones have been targeted by the NSO Group tools. The letter requests Apple provide the number of attacks it’s detected from the tools and when and where they occurred. It also asks Apple for a “staff level briefing” about the company’s communications with government agencies about the spyware.

MacDailyNews Note: Last November, Apple sued the NSO Group over state-sponsored surveillance and targeting of Apple users and began alerting customers who may have been targeted by NSO Group.

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. It should be troubling to everyone who has even a modest ability to think. The U.S. government and governments all over the world have been pressuring Apple and Google and everyone else to not use E2EE, keep backdoors open on devices etc.
    Unfortunately too many think they have nothing to hide. Their glibness keep this kind of shady government power unchecked.

  2. I don’t know whether it’s more troubling that government employees will use this equipment without a warrant, or that those who use it without a warrant are never prosecuted.

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