US says not taking action against Israeli government as 2 firms blacklisted

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

The US State Department says it will not take action against the governments of the countries of four companies, including two Israeli firms, that it blacklisted today for engaging in malicious cyber activities.

“We are not taking action against countries or governments where these entities are located,” the State Department says in a statement shortly after the initial announcement by the US Department of Commerce.

The Israeli firms “NSO Group and Candiru were added to the Entity List based on a determination that they developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used this tool to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers,” the State Department says.

“As part of its commitment to put human rights at the center of US foreign policy, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to stop the proliferation and misuse of digital tools used for repression.”

The State Department says the entity list that the Israeli firms have been added to is used as a tool to “restrict the export, re-export, and in-country transfer of items” to those involved in activities contrary to US national security interests.

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