Human rights

Controversial spyware firm claims new human rights safeguards

Illustration of a dove carrying a mobile phone glowing menacingly.
Illustration of a dove carrying a mobile phone glowing menacingly.

A controversial Israeli military and law enforcement contractor that sells mobile phone spyware to governments is announcing a broad range of human rights protections after years of criticism.

The big picture: The Israel-based NSO Group has been accused of selling its Pegasus spyware to authoritarian governments, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Mexico used Pegasus to spy on the phones of inappropriate targets, including government officials and others who backed a tax on soda.

Proposed labor rule would exempt religious contractors from bias regulations

U.S. Department of Labor office building
Photo: Alastair Pike /AFP/Getty Images

The Department of Labor is proposing a new rule that would allow religious organizations with federal contracts to "make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government."

The big picture: This move falls in line with the Trump administration's record of easing regulations designed to protect against discriminatory hiring practices. The Department of Labor says it's proposing the rule because religious organizations are wary of accepting federal contracts due to "uncertainty regarding the scope of the religious exemption," per existing regulations.