Codebook

Last week, Israel indicted an ex-employee of a military contractor for stealing the firm’s cyberespionage product and trying to sell it on the black market. The incident highlighted a continuing debate over restraining the proliferation of privately sold surveillance tools: One prominent lab called for additional regulation, while another expert told Axios that regulations in this space have caused more problems than they have fixed.

Why it matters: The contractor, Israel’s NSO Group, makes real-deal, take-over-your-cell-phone malware called Pegasus that it sells only to governments. Yet even the legitimate uses of Pegasus can veer toward the creepy: Mexico was caught spying on soda-tax activists, lawyers and journalists with the product last year.

Add illicit use from a black market buyer to this mix, and it’s certainly tempting to try to curtail this kind of tool. Governments tried to do just that in

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