Apple sues Israeli spyware maker, accusing it of illegally accessing iPhone

Apple sued Israeli spyware maker NSO Group on Tuesday, accusing the company of violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and violating trade secret laws, the company said in a statement.

NSO Group sells software that can be used to remotely hack into an iPhone. Its surveillance tools have helped governments capture evidence from people, including journalists and activists around the world.

The Israeli company is named in more than a dozen lawsuits against it. Earlier this year, the company was denied an export license to export its products to Algeria. Back in May, it reached a settlement with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which used the spyware to gather evidence for a major investigation into North Korea’s assassination program.

The suit alleges that the company used flawed methods to develop its spyware, which it said violated trade secrets laws. Apple said in a statement that the company has spent “significant time and resources” to maintain privacy protections, and that these things were violated when engineers provided false information about how the spyware worked.

“It’s unacceptable that a company is allowed to invent new technologies that are not only used by governments, but used as a weapon against Apple customers,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, said in a statement. “We are committed to safeguarding our customers and will continue to oppose those whose goals are to intentionally weaken security for users.”

NSO Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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