WhatsApp may be inching towards victory in its lawsuit against surveillance contractor NSO group after the Israeli company chose to skip a courtroom hearing.
The Facebook-owned messaging service had sued NSO in October after it discovering the firm had exploited a flaw in the messaging app to snoop on hundreds of WhatsApp users.
NSO had stated that it will fight the allegations, however the company failed to appear at the hearing in the Northern District Court of California court.
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WhatsApp vs NSO group
Facebook has accused NSO of violating the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and remotely hijacking the messaging app of 1,400 users which include hundreds of journalists and human rights defenders.
This case is being closely watched by industry observers as it is one of the first kind where a company has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its customers.
It is also of greater interest as it is probably the first time that such high-tech unauthorized surveillance was carried out on users from across the globe.
Documents filed by WhatsApp revealed multiple attempts made by the company to serve the legal notice to the senior executives of the company. These include emails sent to senior executives; copies of the lawsuit delivered via FedEx to the board members of NSO along with a copy of suit hand-delivered to the wife of one of NSO’s co-founders.
While WhatsApp has stated that it will “continue to pursue swift accountability from the courts in the U.S.”, the NSO Group has stated that “this default notice will not stand” and that WhatsApp has “prematurely moved for default before properly serving NSO with the lawsuit.”
A default notice could result in a default judgement against NSO and may result in severe penalties against the NSO group and it would be liable of criminal hacking. Though experts feel that the default judgement is still a long way off and expect NSO to come forward soon to vacate the default judgement.
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