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WhatsApp is set to explore the full functionality of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, previously guarded by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, after a court ruling in favor of WhatsApp’s request. The legal battle originated in 2019 when WhatsApp alleged unauthorized spying on 1,400 users, leading to an unprecedented lawsuit against the NSO Group.




Initially, the NSO attempted to block all discovery due to US and Israeli restrictions, but this blanket request was denied. In the recent ruling, a US district judge rejected the NSO’s argument and granted Signal access to information on the complete functionality of Pegasus, emphasizing the importance of understanding how the spyware accesses and extracts data. Signal claims that Pegasus can intercept various communications and be customized for different purposes, including capturing screenshots and extracting browser history. The court ruled that Signal needs access to all relevant spyware targeting its servers for a specific period before and after the alleged attack to substantiate these claims.




While pleased with the ruling, Signal did not receive all requested discovery, as the NSO won’t be compelled to share specific information on its server architecture. Furthermore, the NSO is not required to disclose its clients, despite reports of its spyware being used by various governments. The court also denied the NSO’s request to compel Signal to share post-complaint communications with the Citizen Lab, a third-party witness supporting Signal’s argument against the misuse of Pegasus. The trial is expected to commence on March 3, 2025, following expert disclosures from both sides on August 30.



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