US Supreme Court rejects NSO Group request for immunity in WhatsApp lawsuit

A photographic illustration shows a mobile phone near the NSO Group company logo in the Israeli city of Netanya on February 9, 2022. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A photographic illustration shows a mobile phone near the NSO Group company logo in the Israeli city of Netanya on February 9, 2022. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The US Supreme Court rejects an Israeli spyware maker’s bid to derail a high-profile lawsuit filed by the WhatsApp messaging service.

The justices leave in place lower court rulings against the Israeli firm, NSO Group. WhatsApp claims that NSO targeted some 1,400 users of the encrypted messaging service with highly sophisticated spyware.

WhatsApp parent Facebook, now called Meta Platforms Inc., is trying to block NSO from Facebook platforms and servers and recover unspecified damages.

NSO argued that it should be recognized as a foreign government agent and therefore be entitled to immunity under US law limiting lawsuits against foreign countries. The request appeals a pair of earlier federal court rulings that rejected similar arguments by the Israeli company.

The Biden administration recommended that the court turn away the appeal.

The Justice Department writes that “NSO plainly is not entitled to immunity here.”

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