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Whatever You Think of Facebook, the NSO Group Is Worse

Josephine Wolff reacts to WhatsApp's lawsuit against the spyware company, via an op-ed for The New York Times.

Facebook is under fierce scrutiny for its decisions about political advertisements and consumer privacy, and its foray into developing a new cryptocurrency. So it makes sense that the company would try to drum up a little positive publicity and remind people that there are tech firms out there that pose much greater threats to privacy, democracy and civil liberties.

Whatever you may think of Facebook, the Israeli spyware company known as the NSO Group — whose products have been used to compromise devices belonging to lawyers, dissidents, journalists and diplomats around the world — is inarguably worse. So the decision by Facebook-owned WhatsApp to sue the NSO Group for compromising the mobile phones of WhatsApp users is a brilliant publicity move, casting Facebook as a staunch defender of its users’ privacy and a champion of internet freedom. Public-image rehabilitation aside, however, the lawsuit is also a genuine step forward for drawing attention to the spyware market and the need for stricter regulation of private surveillance companies like NSO.

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