The Times has included dozens of internal documents and court records about the FBI’s actions regarding the technology known as Pegasus – a capability developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group that can break into devices without a single click from the target. Questionable revelations about representations made by FBI Director Christopher A. Wray to lawmakers in a closed-door session last year. His agency, he claimed, uses the technology only for research and development “to be able to explain how the bad guys could use it, for example.” The real story seems more troubling. The documents revealed show the ability that Pegasus teachers believed could play a role in criminal investigations.
Ultimately the FBI decided not to be complacent with their plans, but simply to move on to the point. The decision came after investigations by The Post and other journalists revealed how authoritarian regimes and democracies alike have profited from NSO technology to target their citizens, including dissidents and journalists — among them, associates of Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi months before his murder in an. operation by the authority of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Correctly, the Biden administration added the NSO along with other similar companies to a notice prohibiting the adoption of American technology.
The problem is, the story doesn’t end here. The FBI noted its flirtation with spyware above. A plausible use of the technology, in theory: to impose on terrorists, for example, or to crack a drug cartel. But in practice, even democracies have often been used to the limits of constitutions or law. As technology and its capabilities outpace the rules and strictures of the law, the role of the United States and other popular nations is to ensure that third-party spyware is provided and used in a way that avoids, not to mention undermining, civil liberties around the world. to endanger the security of his country.
It is not easy or always obvious to do this, but it is essential. The experience of the FBI provides a clear solution to the acquisition of these uniquely invasive tools. NSO attacked Israel’s forbidden goal; His case is easier to explain among the evidence that the government itself was punishing one of its clients not so long ago. The same will be true if the United States becomes involved with other technologies involved in human rights abuses. President Biden was wise to take the fight to the mercenary spyware industry with his reporting, but more or less is necessary. United nations must work together to deny exports and deny imports from any destination that has a record of abuse or lacks a framework to prevent it – as well as anyone that allows their products to be spread around the world by abusers.
This policy, of course, requires that the United States itself come up with a new framework against the abuse of spyware. Developing some rules of the road would be especially necessary for law enforcement as some departmental use of spyware on American citizens would be likely. It is clear at least, starting with the reporting of mandates, both internally and as the clearing of legislators in the relevant congressional committees, which products were purchased and when and how they were used. The public also needs to know how broad strokes spyware is used. Limits on the use of these tools, particularly in situations such as protecting national security and domestic terrorism investigations, are also important. Approval was therefore required; the authorities must go to the right to warrant, as they do when they want to install a wiretap.
Even with all these protections in place, the United States will do well to think that it actually buys spyware from abroad. In this way, even from the relative actors, there is a risk of giving legitimacy to the mutual energy, which, as a whole, pushes the group closer to the time limit of custody. It is likely that the countries that will use the proliferation of these new technologies to explore are not countries like this one, some of whose facilities at home can already be rivaled, something NSO and its iUe have to offer. Nay, rather, the powers which use most of their aggression are the nations, some of them of authority, which would otherwise be limited in their lion’s powers. Before US law enforcement how to buy and use spyware, it should be considered whether – or another country – should.
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