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Facebook Tried Buying Controversial Tool To Spy On iPhone Users: Court Filing Revelation

By Dyuti Pandya      04 April, 2020 03:04 PM      0 Comments
Facebook To Spy On iPhone Users

As reported on 3rd April, 2020, it has come to the light that over the past few years, Facebook has been having uncontrollable instances when it comes to managing privacy and security. A new court filing has revealed that the social media company is now suing the spyware company NSO Group. Facebook tried buying the government spyware that has been considered controversial to monitor iphone and iPad users. 

Facebook had started building its spyware cloaked in a VPN product in order to not enable the user to know about the spyware hidden amid the encrypted software. It used Onavo Protect for iOS and Android and reached to the NSO group for creating the spyware. 

A declaration issued from NSO Group’s CEO, Shalev Hulio revealed that “two Facebook representatives approached NSO in October 2017 and asked to purchase the right to use certain capabilities of Pegasus.”

Probing further into the documentation in the lawsuit revealed: 

"It seems the Facebook representatives were not interested in buying parts of Pegasus as a hacking tool to remotely break into phones, but more as a way to more effectively monitor phones of users who had already installed Onavo. And in particular, Facebook thought Pegasus would give it an advantage in spying on iPhone and iPad users as Apple devices are more difficult to compromise than Android ones.

“The Facebook representatives stated that Facebook was concerned that its method for gathering user data through Onavo Protect was less effective on Apple devices than on Android devices,” the court filing reads. “The Facebook representatives also stated that Facebook wanted to use purported capabilities of Pegasus to monitor users on Apple devices and were willing to pay for the ability to monitor Onavo Protect users.”

However, NSO declined to sell Pegasus to Facebook and launched Onavo without Pegasus in 2018 under a misleading pretense of being a VPN app. Apple in 2018 made Facebook remove Onavo Protect from their app store


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