That Apple is concerned about the privacy of its users it is something that, as a general rule, tends to generate consensus. It is true that the announcement of NeuralHash as a system to try to combat CSAM caused quite a bit of controversy, as the company intended to monitor the content that users upload to their iCloud accounts, something that we already warned about at the time. However, and in response to the criticism, Apple chose to delay its application, in order to gather more information and opinions, in search of a more privacy-friendly solution.
Despite this stumble, and as I said, Apple has been adopting decisions and policies aimed at protecting privacy for a few years now of its users, and the clearest and most recent example of this is found in iOS 14.5, which was a major blow to Facebook, by giving users back control over what data users of their app can access, thanks to the model opt-in, so little present, unfortunately, today.
Thus, since we began to hear about Pegasus, from NSO Group, Apple has already begun to position itself against the excesses committed by this company, and finally it has not been in words. And it is that shortly after the Biden Administration has decided to sanction NSO Group, those of Cupertino have announced it’s a statement his intention to sue the company, for spying on iPhone users with Pegasus.
“State-backed actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That must change”Said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
“Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market, but private companies that develop state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous. While these cybersecurity threats only affect a very small number of our customers, we take any attacks on our users very seriously and constantly work to strengthen security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all of our users safe.«.
And, as we already told you at the time, NSO only offers Pegasus (or at least that is what it claims) to government agencies. This, however, is not a guarantee in any sense, since in recent years its software has been used by totalitarian states to spy on dissidents, journalists, etc., thus becoming a serious threat to human rights, as the Pegagus Project made it quite clear to us.
With your demand, Apple seeks permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from use of any Apple software, service, or device. A laudable goal, to be sure, but one that, given the way the company operates, can be difficult to demonstrate. That is, in the event of a court ruling that grants Apple this measure, the creators of Pegasus could claim that they abide by the mandate but, covertly, continue to act as before. Having seen what is seen, anything is possible.