back to article NSO Group fires back at Facebook: You lied to the court, claims spyware slinger, and we've got the proof

Facebook has been accused of lying to a US court in its ongoing legal battle against government malware maker NSO Group. A series of filings from NSO lawyers lay out the Israeli security company's reasoning for its no-show in court on 2 March, including the accusation that Facebook never properly served its lawyers with legal …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    "Facebook claims NSO developed and equipped the customers with exploits for a remote code execution flaw in WhatsApp that was then used to put surveillance software on the targets' mobile devices."

    Which is why I stopped using WhatsApp the day the sale to FB was announced.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      So you don't think the NSO would of bothered hacking WhatsApp if it hadn't been sold?


      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Have. ...would have bothered...

        Of all grammatical bastardisations, for some reason this one irks me the most.

        Upvote for the post, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did you read the article? Facebook are trying to sue them for doing so. I'm no facebook fan, and there may be alternative motives, but they're doing the right thing here..

      P.S. To butcher a phrase "Encryption doesn't care who owns the company"

  2. DJ

    Game on! FB has the credibility of [insert favorite character name here]

    Tariq Aziz?

    Your starter for 10...

    1. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: Game on! FB has the credibility of [insert favorite character name here]

      NSO and Netanyahu's government come to mind.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

        Re: Game on! FB has the credibility of [insert favorite character name here]

        Agreed. Nothing looks as trustworthy as a government whose head is under indictment by that government, and whose synchophantic supporters deny all reality. What could possibly go wrong?

        I'm not a Facebook fan, but the court should put NSO under a microscope.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    mud wrestling

    or worse? Or is this a case of "let the buyer beware"? Facebook must understand that anybody doing business with Facebook needs to be held at an arms length? No honor among thieves? Isn't that Business 101 at Harvard?

  4. Falmari Silver badge

    What laws have they broken?

    This is an Israeli company subject to the laws of Israel not USA/California.

    What governments do with their software surely makes that government responsible if they beak international laws not the manufacture.

    If so then lots of arms and aero space companies should be held accountable for illegal use of their wares.

    Hey I am all in favour of that but not going to happen.

    If they have sold to unfriendly governments deemed so by their government (Israel) then they should be held accountable by they laws of their country Israel not the US of A.

    1. FozzyBear

      Re: What laws have they broken?

      That is true. However the prophets Parker and Stone said it best some 15 years ago.

      Team America World Police

      Fuck Yeah!

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: What laws have they broken?

        Damn you now I want to watch it again :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        15 years?

        cripes I feel old

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: What laws have they broken?

      Hard to say what laws have been broken and by whom!

      Malware manufacturer vs Malware.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: What laws have they broken?

      Not really true. There are two places laws can be applied:

      1. In the nation of the perpetrator.

      2. In the nation where the crime took place.

      If I am an Australian citizen, but I go to India and commit a crime then leave for Australia, I can be sent back to India to face my charges. The same applies if I am in Australia and use a network to commit a crime in India. So if it can be proven that improper access was obtained to computers in the U.S., then the U.S. courts have a claim to jurisdiction about that crime. Now, there are other provisos about that. For criminal matters, you get into the area of extradition, but this is a civil matter. So, if NSO is found guilty, they can manage not to pay the bill. However, if they don't pay, they may be restricted against operating or storing money in the U.S. as the U.S. can then be required to confiscate the money to pay the judgement.

      This rule applies in any country pair. If an American company violates a law in another country, let's use GDPR as an example, they can be sued in the courts where the violation took place. It does not matter if they have a local subsidiary. It does not matter if they have anything physical in that country. It does not matter if any of their employees has ever set foot in that country. If they violated the law there, they can be sued there. The same logic applies to this case.

  5. ExampleOne

    If NSO can prove their account of the timeline of events, I can’t see how this is going to end well in any way for Facebook.

    Depending on the exact status of the relevant deception of the court, it is surely at best contempt by Facebooks legal team?

    1. Malcolm Weir

      NSO will very likely not be able to _prove_ their version of events to the level needed to prove "fraud on the court"; that challenge was just thrown out there to ratchet up the rhetoric. The "Hail Mary" that they're trying for is for the court to dismiss with prejudice (so Facebook loses permanently), but that's a very very long shot!

      If NSO's claims are factually correct and the service of the subpoena was actually deficient, then the most likely outcome will be that the judgment will be vacated and remanded for further proceedings and the "did Facebook's attorneys knowingly perpetrate a fraud when they claimed that the subpoena had been served?" will be mooted.

      Note that the NSO argument is that allegedly 2 days prior to the hearing, Facebook's Israeli attorneys were informed that service was not complete, which seems awfully close, and it seems very likely that Facebook would simply argue that they believed that (a) the subpoena had been served, and/or (b) the suggestion that it may have been deficient was itself deficient (i.e. what we have here is two lawyers arguing about the law, which is normal and what courts are for).

      Also note that NSO is also arguing that they are operating under Israeli government sponsorship in producing their malware, and gosh, the Israeli government is the party asserting that the service of the subpoena is incomplete. Golly.

      Even from just reading NSO's filing, they acknowledge that they're well aware of the case and it's calendar, and that they're claiming that they aren't subject to the court's jurisdiction. Now, point to ponder: is a California court more or less likely to view a party's filinigs in a favorable light if they make their objections known in a timeley manner, or if they wait until after the court has wasted time issuing a judgment of default?

      The simplest (and cheapest) approach for NSO would have been to have an attorney show up in the courtroom, note that they arent waiving jurisdiction claims, but by the way Facebook hasn't managed to serve them yet, so see you in 90 days (or whatever).

      To be honest, this looks like NSO is trying to drag things out as long as possible, which is suggestive of, shall we say, a certain awareness of risk...

  6. JohnFen


    It's so annoying when two bad actors are fighting like this, because you can't really root for either of them.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Annoying

      I suppose you could just hope that this goes on for years and costs them $$$$, but then the lawyers win which isn't much of an improvement.

    2. Chris the bean counter

      Re: Annoying

      As Kissinger said at start of Iran - iraq war "I wish both sides the best of luck"

  7. Francis Boyle

    I don't think

    Zuck's ageing program is working correctly.

  8. Groove-Cat

    (anti) social network.

    With the Cambridge Analytica thing, Australians wanting to sue to arse off Facebook and now this...

    Can we please just shut this anti-social network down already? Maybe then we can get back to talking to one another vis-à-vis?

    1. brett_x

      Re: (anti) social network.

      "Can we please just shut this anti-social network down already? Maybe then we can get back to talking to one another vis-à-vis?"

      ... s/he says.. completely un-ironically.. on a platform which is decidedly not vis-à-vis...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: (anti) social network.

        ... he says, completely un-ironically... whilst comparing comentary to chit chat.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: (anti) social network.

      vis-à-vis? That's a new one to me... Have you got the download url, and is it free?

      1. Groove-Cat

        Re: (anti) social network.

        LOL. fair enough... I expected nothing less from this audience, but you lot know what I meant by that. :)

  9. NuffSed?

    Does US Jurisdiction = planet Earth?

    According to Rachel Maddow this was clarified years ago by the now US AG/Trump Attorney, W Barr.

    Recalling the matter of FIFA corruption, I understood it to be that if at some point goods or services is provided by or via a US based business then it can be taken up by US judicial "system."

    That said, any US individual or business that effs up abroad is (seemingly) immune. Crikey, apparently it is even ok to drive on the wrong side of the road and kill someone.

    You would think that this would have been sorted by now.

    Anyone shed light on this?

    1. Malcolm Weir

      Re: Does US Jurisdiction = planet Earth?

      Well, yes... anyone "doing business" in a jurisdiction is liable to someone asserting that they're subject to that jurisdiction.

      See also every ruling from the EU against Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc...

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