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By Raphael Satter
(Reuters) -U.S. spymaster makers will be able to strip American companies of business rights from buying or marketing foreign spyware, under a bill https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ iaa_ans_xml.pdf released by the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
The bill must pass the full House of Representatives and be reconciled with its Senate counterpart before it becomes law. After media reports that Israeli spyware maker NSO is in talks to be acquired by US defense contractor L3Harris Technologies (NYSE: Inc.
NSO and L3Harris did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Calling the rise of foreign-made commercial spyware an “acute and urgent threat to the national security of the United States,” the bill would empower the US Director of National Intelligence States to ban any contract between such spyware manufacturers and the intelligence community. It would also allow the White House to punish them if they target US spies.
In a statement, the White House said it shared lawmakers’ concern that NSO-made tools pose “serious counterintelligence and security risks to United States personnel and systems.” and is implementing a US government ban on the use of foreign spyware. has been misused abroad.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately return a message.
Another provision would allow the director to ban any part of the intelligence community from contracting with a US company that purchased foreign commercial spyware “in whole or in part”. That regulation could be fatal to the reported L3Harris deal.
The threat posed by foreign-made spyware to US national security has crept up on the political agenda lately. Last year, Reuters revealed https://www.reuters.com/technology/exclusive-us-state-department-phones-hacked-with-israeli-company-spyware-sources-2021-12-03 that the department phone Diplomatic has been hacked using NSO spyware. Just a few weeks earlier, NSO was blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce https://www.reuters.com/technology/us-blacklists-four-companies-israel-russia-singapore-oking-spyware-2021 -11-03 .
Lauren French, a spokeswoman for the House Intelligence Committee, said the panel had scheduled a rare unclassified hearing on foreign espionage tools for next Wednesday.
Lawmakers also expressed their desire to continue monitoring the matter. The bill passed Wednesday calls for the creation of a classified watch list of foreign spyware merchants and an annual update to Congress on industry developments.