Google Wants More Action Taken Against Spyware

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

( – Google is pushing for the government to do more in order to combat spyware sales and to handle surveillance software misuse, according to recent reports.

On Tuesday, February 6, Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) said that the harm of this spyware was “not hypothetical” and that these vendors are pointing out how the tools they are selling are used “in law enforcement and counterterrorism.”

The group’s report titled “Buying Spying,” further said that the spyware is being used against politicians, as well as against human rights defenders and journalists. These are users that Google has dubbed “high-risk users.” It noted that these cases are well documented, not only through Google analytics, but also by other researchers, including those at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab along with Amnesty International. 

The company report specifically opposes “commercial surveillance vendors” (CSVs) such as the Israeli company NSO Group, which developed the Pegasus spyware. This spyware reportedly became a major threat to human rights and their advocates. The report also mentioned Intellexa, a Greek company, and the Italian companies Cy4Gate and Negg Group. 

The TAG report continued by noting that the hope was that it would act as a call to action. It stated that so long as there was demand from governments for buying surveillance technology, CSVS would press forward with the development and sale of spyware.

On February 5, the U.S. introduced new immigration restrictions targeting foreign individuals who have been known to misuse spyware. 

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