We urge you to seriously engage with the significant issues raised by your Authority’s investment with Novalpina Capital and we look forward to your outstanding reply to our correspondence dated May 24, 2019.
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18 June 2019 Dear Yana and Stephen Peel, We write to you in light of recent reporting indicating that you both own a stake in Novalpina Capital LLP. As Yana Peel has recently expressed that she believes criticism of NSO Group is “misinformed,” we thought it appropriate to specifically draw Ms. Peel’s attention to the… Read more »
Given Novalpina Capital’s recent acquisition of NSO Group and the obvious human rights concerns raised by NSO Group’s business practices, Citizen Lab’s Ronald Deibert seeks a response from the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority regarding how its investment in Novalpina is consistent with the Authority’s Policy and what measures were taken by the Authority to inform and educate pension fund contributors and members regarding NSO Group.
Without Novalpina Capital—or the parties that you hired to conduct due diligence—concluding that Citizen Lab reporting is flawed and providing a substantiated basis to prove such a finding, it remains the case that you are purchasing a company implicated in serious human rights abuses and have decided to simply ignore this fact. It also remains the case that, without meaningful engagement with our research, your due diligence process will appear to many as nothing more than a superficial effort to check boxes and appease stakeholders concerned by NSO Group.
We appreciate your commitment—as stated in your letter of February 15, 2019—to “helping NSO Group become more transparent about its business.” As a first step, we ask that Novalpina Capital provide answers to the following questions regarding Novalpina Capital and NSO Group’s human rights due diligence and corporate social responsibility practices.
In its most recent response to the Citizen Lab regarding the The Great iPwn report, NSO Group extended an invitation to meet and discuss the Citizen Lab’s concerns and NSO Group’s “program” in more detail. We do not believe this invitation is made in good faith and have declined.
The Citizen Lab’s response to the questionnaire of the U.N. Working Group on the use of mercenaries on the provision of military and security products and services in cyber space by cyber mercenaries and related actors and its human rights impact.
Amidst calls for reform in Togo, NSO Group’s spyware was used to target voices for change including a bishop, priest, and opposition politicians.
As part of our investigation into the incident, Citizen Lab has identified over 100 cases of abusive targeting of human rights defenders and journalists in at least 20 countries across the globe, ranging from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America that took place after Novalpina Capital acquired NSO Group and began an ongoing public relations campaign to promote the narrative that the new ownership would curb abuses.
The May 2019 WhatsApp Incident As reported in May 2019, WhatsApp identified and shortly thereafter fixed a vulnerability that allowed attackers to inject commercial spyware on to phones simply by ringing the number of a target’s device. Today Oct 29th, WhatsApp is publicly attributing the attack to NSO Group, an Israeli spyware developer that also… Read more »