Israel Suspends Export License of Firm Suspected of Illegally Selling Surveillance Systems

Ability Security Systems allegedly sold telecom interception and location systems without licenses

FILE PHOTO: A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him, May 13, 2017.
\ Kacper Pempel/ REUTERS

The Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that it has suspended the export license of Israeli firm Ability Security Systems, which provides intelligence technologies and systems to intercept and locate telecom traffic.

The company allegedly sold eavesdropping systems without licenses and in violation of the law supervising defense exports.

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A gag order has been imposed on all other details of the case.

The Defense Ministry noted that it decided to suspend Ability's license following an investigation that was conducted by its Defense Security Authority (known by its Hebrew acronym Malmab), along with the Defense Export Controls Agency.

After the probe, the ministry held hearings for representatives of the company.

Ability provides intelligence technologies for intercepting and locating cellular and satellite communications, including encryption and cyber technology. It sells its products to government, military and police bodies.

The technology allows eavesdropping on encrypted communications and messages – both incoming and outgoing, locating devices by model and where the device was issued, and disrupting the communications to and from specific devices. The company says its products can be installed on aircrafts as well.