“we play no part in how our products are used…”

It was announced yesterday morning (April 14th) that there is an update to the communication App ‘WhatsApp’ to account for a security hole which has been exploited by some intrusive software.  Unually in this case, the ‘hack’ in question has been identified and the developer is known…  The ‘hack’ was developed specifically to crack encrypted communication apps by the NSO Group – an American-owned Israeli software house.  This product is sold to governments around the world to ‘help in the fight against terrorism’ and is now being used by many to oppress human rights.

According to the BBC Today Programme (April 14th) the NSO Group stated that they “play no part in how our products are used.”  Really..?  Let’s just have a look at this (absurd) claim: the product in question is software which is specifically designed to access information from a person’s telephone without their consent.  This is a tool which arguably has only one purpose – to infringe on someone’s right to private communications and movements.  How then, is the NSO Group NOT responsible for the way in which it is used?   It is not even as if there is any reasonable deniability that the software in question was designed to circumvent measures put in place to protect people’s privacy – that is its one and only function!  How then can the company that made it possibly even hope to express a lack of responsibility for the manner in which it is used?

If using something is a criminal offence, then shouldn’t the production of a thing whose sole purpose can only be criminal, also be a criminal offence?

 

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