In recent days, United Nations Special Rapporteurs have released two revelatory reports that demonstrate the dangerous effects of unchecked technology in the hands of autocrats: one relating to the proliferation and abuse of surveillance software and one that investigates the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Both reports highlight the danger of unaccountable and unregulated surveillance technology sold to countries with egregious human rights records.
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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.
The purpose of this letter is to alert Jefferies Financial Group and lending firms interested in the syndicated loan to the Citizen Lab’s structured, evidence-based research into the abuse of NSO Group spyware, as well as investigations and research conducted by organizations such as Amnesty International, security companies, and the security team at Google Inc.
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.