The US Supreme Court on Monday allowed the lawsuit by Meta – owner of WhatsApp – against Israel’s NSO Group Technologies, which allegedly illegally accessed the messaging service’s servers when it installed Pegasus software, to go ahead.
The judges dismissed the Israeli company’s appeal, which argued that the lawsuit did not affect it because it was acting on behalf of unidentified government agencies, US media reported.
Following the decision of the highest US court, the case will be allowed to proceed in a lower federal court in Northern California.
Meta’s lawsuit, filed in October 2019, maintains that the Israeli company allegedly violated various laws including the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act when it installed the Pegasus “software”, which allowed it to access WhatsApp servers to spy on 1,400 people, including journalists and activists.
The Israeli company defended that it was acting on behalf of foreign governments, which it did not identify, and that Pegasus is a system used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
President Joe Biden’s administration weighed in on the case in June, saying in a brief that authorities did not have to consider NSO Group’s appeal because the company did not meet the requirement of a state entity that can claim immunity, according to NBC News.