It seems that the notoriously anti-Israel organization Amnesty International is on a tear to destroy the Israeli security firm NSO Group Technologies, which provides its state-of-the-art anti-terrorism technology to countries around the world.
AI recently sued NSO in Tel Aviv District Court in an effort to have its export license canceled, claiming that NSO’s products are used by several countries in human rights violations. NSO maintains that it only licenses its software to governments for “fighting crime and terror.”
In addition, in June, AI issued a report accusing Morocco – which cooperates with Israel on several fronts but with whom it does not have formal diplomatic relations – of using NSO’s technology to spy on AI employees.
Earlier this month, the Tel Aviv court ruled in favor of NSO and dismissed the lawsuit, holding that the Israeli Defense Ministry, which oversees NSO’s operations, maintains a vetting process that was sufficient to determine if its products were used in the commission of human rights violations.
However, because of security considerations the court did not share the factual basis for its findings with AI or the public – only its bottom-line conclusions and the observation that AI failed to “provide evidence” proving its claim.
In fact, the hearings were held behind closed doors after the first few minutes, excluding even AI’s lawyers, so AI was unable to criticize the findings with any particularity and comment on the efficacy of Defense Ministry monitoring.
Morocco, meanwhile, “categorically” denies the AI charges as unfounded and is up in arms because AI has never shared any evidence on the country’s improper use of NSO technology. Indeed, the country says AI has never documented that Morocco was even in possession of the software in question.
We are confident that NSO software has been a significant force against terror around the world. So those who would seek to discredit it must convincingly bear the burden of proof that it is being misused. Unsubstantiated and shrill charges from folks with known biases are not enough. AI needs to come up with substantial evidence. That is, of course, if it exists.