The Biden administration took a public stand last year against the abuse of spyware to target human rights activists, dissidents and journalists: It blacklisted the most notorious maker of the hacking tools, the Israeli firm NSO Group.
But the global industry for commercial spyware — which allows governments to invade mobile phones and vacuum up data — continues to boom. Even the U.S. government is using it.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is secretly deploying spyware from a different Israeli firm, according to five people familiar with the agency's operations, in the first confirmed use of commercial spyware by the federal government.
At the same time, the use of spyware continues to proliferate around the world, with new firms — which employ former Israeli cyberintelligence veterans, some of whom worked for NSO — stepping in to fill the void left by the blacklisting. With this next generation of firms, technology that once was in the hands of a small number of nations is now ubiquitous — transforming the landscape of government spying.
From The New York Times
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