Despite some mealy-mouthed denials, folks have been noting NSO certainly doesn't mind selling their wares to human rights abusers for years and earlier this year NSO's founder pretty much came out defending spyware and hacking of journalists, human rights activists and lawyers, etc…
Is there any political push in the U.S. to, if not hold the NSO Group's executives and key engineers responsible, at least make their lives difficult? (For example, through the Global Magnitsky Act .)
NSO is Israeli. The U.S. has proven that it does not care about illegal acts of its friends, not in Israel, nor Egypt, KSA etc.
Granted, NSO Group is a private entity, but it definitely has the Israeli government looking the other way and so will do the U.S. one as a result.
The Magnitsky act was targeted at Russia, there's political will for that. Using it to target Israeli actors? I don't think so.
P.S. Before downvoting because I criticized something Israeli, note that it is such mentality that helps players like NSO to operate with impunity in the first place. Nonetheless, I want to make clear that there are U.S. & European companies, (for example Italian-based, "Hacking Team", that do this and it's just as bankrupt).
It is the business model that is bankrupt.
Israeli and US intelligence are very close, and I suspect there are strategic benefits to being the supplier of these technologies that incentivize it. Also, they both have interest in questionable internal security agencies (eg saudi's, Iraq's & Egypt's) succeeding, to avoid isis-like groups getting strong.
I'm not excusing it (I'm Israeli btw), but the whole approach to military industry is built on treating suppliers as not responsible for how their products/weapons are used. That said, intelligence tech feels more like outright mercenary services than weapons sales. This might get marginally better as the scandals mount.
Best case, non-radical scenario: any SigInt technology is treated as "strategic," with close oversight.. like anti-aircraft somesuch.
See, e.g. https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2018-palantir-peter-thiel...
"The company’s engineers and products don’t do any spying themselves; they’re more like a spy’s brain, collecting and analyzing information that’s fed in from the hands, eyes, nose, and ears."
It's named after omniscient crystal balls.
The CIA’s investment arm, In-Q-Tel, was a seed investor.
Do you truly believe they don't collect data?
My guesses would start with Booz Allen Hamilton (who has had two notable people on NSA contracts: Snowden and Harold Martin) for where the data collection tools come from.
Look at https://www.thenation.com/article/five-corporations-now-domi...
Five companies dominate USG intelligence contracting, and Palantir isn't on the list: Leidos, CACI, SAIC, Booz Allen, and CSRA. One or more of those companies do provide data collection tools to the government, I'm certain. They are boring companies that no one really cares about, and you would never click on a link about Leidos, so that's where it's happening.
There's a petition currently in Israel to revoke their export license, basically shutting them down. It's unlikely to succeed though.
That said, there's an interesting dynamic emerging. The norm till now (in the US and Israel) has been to allow allow arms and military-tech sales to not-banned countries, regardless of human rights records. SigInt tech has been treated the same.
But... WhatsApp hacks, journalist assassinations and such seem to be drawing more pressure than bullets and bombs. It may result in intelligence technology becoming more restricted in general.