The case dates back to January when Amnesty International called on the court to stop the export of the Israeli firm’s spyware.
The court made its decision public on Monday.
The request comes as Amnesty International continues to issue reports alleging governments use NSO’s notorious Pegasus software to monitor the activity of journalists and activists across the world.
Amnesty International filed the complaint against NSO in January. District Court Judge Rachel Lavi Barkai argued that the petition from the NGO and 30 human rights activists “failed to provide” evidence to prove that NSO’s technology “was used to spy on Amnesty activists.”
She said she was convinced that the “oversight procedures and the handling of requests for permits for defense export are meticulous.”
The judge expressed confidence in Israeli authorities’ diligence in issuing the permit, and in its post-issuance monitoring by the Defense Export Control Agency, “which is particularly sensitive to human rights violations.”.
He vowed that authorities will take immediate action against the company’s permit and activities only if they conclude there is a risk for human rights.
“Granting a license is done after the most rigorous process and also after granting the permit, the authority conducts oversight and close inspection, as necessary,” the court said. “If human rights are found to be violated, that permit can be suspended or canceled,” the court added.
In 2018, Amnesty International claimed one of its staff was the target of a spying attack enacted through a WhatsApp message “about a protest in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington as bait.”
Tensions between Morocco and Amnesty International over spyware accusations
The decision of the court comes amid an escalation between Morocco and Amnesty International after the NGO accused Morocco of using its technology to spy on activists and journalists.
The NGO issued a report on June 22 alleging that the government used the spyware technology against Moroccan journalist Omar Radi.
The human rights watchdog said it used expertise to prove Morocco had a hand in spying cyber attacks against the journalist, touting material evidence.
Amnesty International, however, failed to answer requests from the Moroccan government by providing material evidence to support its claims, and evaded related inquiries from Morocco World News.
On July 10, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani said he received a letter from Amnesty International’s Acting Secretary General Julie Vierhar, but thereply did not include any material evidence, which the country had asked for.
“We, in the Moroccan government, are still insisting on providing us with a copy of the report of scientific expertise that was adopted to make these unfounded accusations, or publishing it to the public,” El Othmani said.
While Amnesty International claims it sent correspondence to Morocco before the publication of the report, Morocco’s government denies having received any message about the matter.
The government said receiving information outlining scientific expertise and methods used in compiling the report would be more appropriate than issuing a document “full of expressions referring to hypotheses that contradict the standards of scientific expertise, which makes of the judgments contained in the report, in the form of assertion, mere expressions that lack any scientific basis to prove the association of the supposed breaches of specific phones in Morocco.”