Friday, November 05, 2021

  • Friday, November 05, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


From the New York Times:
In a remarkable breach with Israel over one of its most successful technology companies, the Biden administration on Wednesday blacklisted the NSO Group, saying the company knowingly supplied spyware that has been used by foreign governments to “maliciously target” the phones of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and others.

The firm, and another Israeli company, Candiru, acted “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the Commerce Department said, a striking accusation against a business that operates under the direct supervision of the Israeli government.
It is definitely newsworthy to say that two Israeli companies are sanctioned for marketing spyware. Yet as I pointed out months ago, there are plenty of other companies that do the same thing worldwide, and no one seems to have a problem with them.

Twenty paragraphs into the article concentrating on NSO, we read:
NSO was one of four companies that were blacklisted on Wednesday.

Candiru, another Israeli firm, was sanctioned based on evidence that it supplied spyware to foreign governments. Positive Technologies of Russia, which was targeted with sanctions last April for its work with Russian intelligence, and Computer Security Initiative Consultancy of Singapore were added to the list for trafficking in hacking tools, according to the Commerce Department’s announcement.
I didn't see anyone make a big deal over a Singapore company being sanctioned for selling hacking tools (besides in Singapore itself.). Most articles didn't mention that at all.

Giving the other two companies more attention would lessen the goal of associating Israel with spyware, so the Times ignores putting things in context,

The NYT also praises President Biden, saying "The ban is the strongest step an American president has taken to curb abuses in the global market for spyware, which has gone largely unregulated. "

The Commerce Department announcement itself doesn't mention Biden. It only mentions one president whose orders allowed them to make this move:
Export Control Reform Act of 2018 
On August 13, 2018, the President signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, which included the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) (50 U.S.C. 4801-4852). ECRA provides the legal basis for BIS’s principal authorities and serves as the authority under which BIS issues this rule
Who was president in 2018 again?

Context.

Now, a reporter might wonder, how many companies are on the US Department of Commerce Entity List for potentially selling items that might compromise national security?

Just joking. No reporter asked that question. But if they did, they would find a document that is 475 pages long that lists over 1700 companies.

As you might expect, hundreds of them are Chinese. But you might be surprised to see that over 35 of them are based in the UK, 20 in Germany and 24 in Canada.

11 of them are Israeli. 

Has anyone darkly accused Canada, Britain or Germany of being enemies of  the US because they host so many companies on the Commerce Department list?

No. Only Israel is singled out for such scrutiny. 

Even though there is a bustling cyber-arms industry worldwide - here's one headquartered in Italy and one in England, for example - no one accuses their host countries of being complicit in how the software is are used.

Only Israel gets such reporting.

The lack of context in stories like this is irresponsible and it betrays the antipathy that the media has against Israel.









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