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#FBI #PuertoRico— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) March 29, 2023
Does the FBI conduct the very close, and at times unlawful surveillance of the Puerto Rico politicians? They have the decades old tradition of doing this, it is nothing new. Do they now use NSO SPYWARE, including for their "experimental", https://t.co/LS1TSaitRL… pic.twitter.com/kDtVwXlrFN
- Were the Puerto Rico politicians among those 50? Namely: #RicardoRossello in #TelegramGatePR, #WandaVazquez, and others? Did the FBI-#FBI use the spyware on them for "testing"? White House says 50 US officials targeted ... FBI knows how to shrink the American politicians down to their proper sizes. They specialize in taking the correct measures of men. Maybe, they should be tailors, rather than plumbers.March 28, 2023
- Does the FBI conduct the very close, and at times unlawful surveillance of the Puerto Rico politicians? | Bing
Were the Puerto Rico politicians among those 50?— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) March 28, 2023
Namely: #RicardoRossello in #TelegramGatePR, #WandaVazquez, and others?
Did the FBI-#FBI use the spyware on them for "testing"?
Spyware: White House says 50 US officials targeted with spyware as it rolls https://t.co/4CqTTUFQuA…
Biden banned spyware, many officials involved
Ricardo Rossello TelegramGate PR
Michael Novakhov on use of NSO spyware
FBI knows how to shrink the American politicians down to their proper sizes. They specialize in taking the correct measures of men. Maybe, they should be tailors, rather than plumbers. -M.N. – 1:53 PM 8/2/2019
By Michael Novakhov (Mike Nova) August 02, 2019
Investigate The Investigators! House lawmakers demand answers on FBI operations after audit reveals rules broken in investigations. Did #FBI hack Rossello for Trump? FBI knows how to shrink the American politicians down to their proper sizes. They specialize in taking the correct measures of men. Maybe, they should be tailors, rather than plumbers. | 12:58 PM 3/15/2022 - Tweets Review | Updated 11:17 AM 3/18/2022
Michael Novakhov (Mike Nova) 3/18/2022 11:18:00 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government will restrict its use of commercial spyware tools that have been used to surveil human rights activists, journalists and dissidents around the world, under an executive order issued Monday by President Joe Biden.
The order responds to growing U.S. and global concerns about programs that can capture text messages and other cellphone data. Some programs — so-called “zero-click” exploits — can infect a phone without the user clicking on a malicious link.
Governments around the world — including the U.S. — are known to collect large amounts of data for intelligence and law enforcement purposes, including communications from their own citizens. The proliferation of commercial spyware has made powerful tools newly available to smaller countries, but also created what researchers and human-rights activists warn are opportunities for abuse and repression.
The White House released the executive order in advance of its second summit for democracy this week. The order “demonstrates the United States’ leadership in, and commitment to, advancing technology for democracy, including by countering the misuse of commercial spyware and other surveillance technology,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden’s order, billed as a prohibition on using commercial spyware “that poses risks to national security,” allows for some exceptions.
The order will require the head of any U.S. agency using commercial programs to certify that the program doesn’t pose a significant counterintelligence or other security risk, a senior administration official said.
Among the factors that will be used to determine the level of security risk is if a foreign actor has used the program to monitor U.S. citizens without legal authorization or surveil human rights activists and other dissidents.
READ MORE: U.S. officials make case for renewing FISA surveillance program
“It is intended to be a high bar but also includes remedial steps that can be taken … in which a company may argue that their tool has not been misused,” said the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under White House ground rules.
The White House will not publish a list of banned programs as part of the executive order, the official said.
John Scott-Railton, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab who has long studied spyware, credited the Biden administration for trying to set new global standards for the industry.
“Most spyware companies see selling to the U.S. as their eventual exit path,” Scott-Railton said. “The issue is the U.S. until now hasn’t really wielded its purchasing power to push the industry to do better.”
Congress last year required U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate foreign use of spyware and gave the Office of the Director of National Intelligence the power to ban any agency from using commercial programs.
Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a committee hearing last year that commercial spyware posed a “very serious threat to our democracy and to democracies around the world.” He said Monday the new order should be followed by other democracies taking steps against spyware.
“It’s a very powerful statement and a good tool, but alone it won’t do the trick,” he said.
Perhaps the best known example of spyware, the Pegasus software from Israel’s NSO Group, was used to target more than 1,000 people across 50 countries, according to security researchers and a July 2021 global media investigation, citing a list of more than 50,000 cellphone numbers. The U.S. has already placed export limits on NSO Group, restricting the company’s access to U.S. components and technology.
Officials would not say if U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies currently use any commercial spyware. The FBI last year confirmed it had purchased NSO Group’s Pegasus tool “for product testing and evaluation only,” and not for operational purposes or to support any investigation.
White House officials said Monday they believe 50 devices used by U.S. government employees, across 10 countries, had been compromised or targeted by commercial spyware.
Despite NSO’s assertions that the program is supposed to be used to counter terrorism and crime, researchers found the numbers of more than 180 journalists, 600 politicians and government officials, and 85 human rights activists.
Pegasus use was most commonly linked to Mexico and countries in the Middle East. Amnesty International has alleged Pegasus was installed on the phone of Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée just four days before the journalist was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. NSO has denied the allegation that its software was used in connection with Khashoggi’s murder.
The family of Paul Rusesabagina, credited with saving more than 1,200 lives during the Rwandan genocide, a story depicted in the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” has also alleged it was targeted by spyware. Rusesabagina was lured back to Rwanda under false pretenses and jailed on terrorism charges before his release last week. Rwanda has denied using commercial spyware.
The smartphones of at least 50 US government employees in multiple countries have been targeted by hackers using spyware, the White House revealed Monday while introducing a new measure to protect officials and the public from digital spies.
“Our efforts to identify additional targeted personnel continue, and we obviously cannot rule out even more instances,” a White House official said on a phone call Monday, noting that the staffers were stationed in 10 countries.
It’s unclear when the attacks took place, but multiple outlets reported that in 2021, the iPhones of about a dozen State Department employees were targeted by a hacker using malicious software developed by an Israeli company – representing the largest-scale hacking attack on US officials at the time.
President Biden signed an executive order on Monday aimed at curbing spyware attacks by setting guidelines for companies that produce it.The executive order will give the president the authority to ban companies that produce spyware from working with the US government.REUTERS
A White House official said the order gives Biden the power to ban a company’s software across all federal agencies if it produces spyware that is found to have been used to target activists, restrict political dissent or surveil Americans.
Company’s can also be barred from selling to the US government if they are found to be doing business with foreign governments that have a poor human rights track record.
“We have clearly identified the proliferation and misuse of spyware as a threat to national security,” the official said. “The threat of misuse around the world also implicates our core foreign policy interests.”Roughly a dozen State Department employees were the victims of a targeted spyware attack back in 2021.Getty Images/iStockphoto
If the intelligence community finds that a particular commercial spyware platform was used to help target US government employees, then it too would be subject to new restrictions.
“We needed to have a standard where if we know that a company is selling to a country that is engaged in these outlined activities, that in and of itself is a red flag,” a senior Biden administration official said.
At least 50 US government officials are suspected or confirmed to have been targeted by invasive commercial spyware designed to hack mobile phones, a senior US administration official told reporters on Monday, revealing a far bigger number than previously known.
The revelation came as President Joe Biden on Monday issued an executive order banning US government agencies from using spyware that is deemed a threat to US national security or are implicated in human rights abuses.
Pressure has grown in recent weeks on the administration to do more to curb the use of the hacking tools among fellow democracies following press reports that multiple European governments have used spyware on their citizens. A bipartisan group of US lawmakers wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken this month urging him to form an “international coalition” to combat spyware.
Such hacking tools pose “distinct and growing counterintelligence and security risks to the United States, including to the safety and security of US personnel and their families,” the senior official said in previewing the executive order.
The directive targets spyware, or malicious software sold by companies around the world that break into the mobile phones of targets with a few clicks.
An impetus for the executive order was the discovery in 2021 that the iPhones of about a dozen US State Department employees were hacked with spyware developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, CNN has reported.
The executive order reflects wide-ranging concerns in the Biden administration that both authoritarian governments and democracies can use the powerful hacking tools to suppress opposition voices or target journalists.
The tools also directly threaten US diplomats.
Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, one of the lawmakers who asked the Biden administration to do more on spyware, said he expects the number of US government personnel confirmed to be targeted by the hacking tools to increase as the US continues to investigate the issue.
The executive order, he told CNN, “sends a strong signal” to spyware firms that their access to the US market depends on ensuring their technology is not abused.
But there’s more the US government can do to crack down, said Himes, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“If a country to which we’re giving significant foreign aid uses [spyware] against … dissidents, against journalists, we need to rethink that foreign aid,” Himes said.
The Biden administration will this week co-host a “Summit for Democracy” with governments around the world where spyware is expected to be a prime topic.
But the extent to which US government agencies themselves have used spyware is unclear. The new directive prohibits US agencies from using spyware “operationally,” but does not preclude using the tools for testing purposes, as the FBI says it has.
The FBI has also explored using NSO Group’s signature hacking tool in criminal investigations before opting not to, while the CIA bought the tool for the East African government of Djibouti, according to a New York Times report.
The senior administration official on Monday declined to detail any examples of when US government agencies may have used commercial spyware operationally in response to a question from CNN.
Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which investigates spyware abuses, said the new executive order will “make the very lucrative US federal government market inaccessible to firms that present a national security risk and facilitate transnational repression and human rights violations abroad.”
The directive, Deibert told CNN, will hopefully “trigger a common front among allied countries worldwide and send a strong signal that the Wild West days are over for NSO Group and other reckless actors in this space.”
NSO Group, which the US Commerce Department has effectively blocked from buying US software, has long asserted that its hacking tools are only sold to governments for legitimate counter-terrorism or anti-crime purposes.
But the spyware challenge is not confined to one technology or vendor, analysts say. Suspected spyware infections have been found in dozens of countries, from Angola to Zambia, according to a study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
This story has been updated with additional information.