Northern Ireland

Calls to investigate blacklisted spyware firm with offices in Dublin

The Intellexa company is known for spyware that can secretly activate the camera and microphone on mobile phones. (Yui Mok/PA)
The Intellexa company is known for spyware that can secretly activate the camera and microphone on mobile phones. (Yui Mok/PA)

A Dublin-based spyware company that has been blacklisted by the United States should be investigated, an MEP has said.

Barry Andrews has called on the Oireachtas Justice committee to take a closer look at Intellexa Limited, which has an office on Dublin’s Foley Street.

Reported by, the company is part of a wider Israeli group selling controversial spyware technology called Predator.

It has the ability to activate the camera and microphone of a targeted mobile phone, turning it into a bug without the knowledge of the user.

It is also claimed that the firm also has drones capable of collecting data from mobile phones.

Mr Andrews called it “a human rights issue,” and said the software had been used to monitor journalists and allegedly exploit vulnerable people.

“This is about establishing if there are any safeguards in place,” he said.

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Intellexa Limited has operated in Ireland for over three years, and was among a number of companies listed by the US State Department in recent weeks to state it represents a threat to national security.

This prevents American companies from working with Intellexa, and is said to be part of the Biden administration’s campaign to regulate spyware.

Mr Andrews has asked the Oireachtas committee to examine the risks of Intellexa and similar companies working in Ireland.

“This company has been identified by the US authorities and there is clearly a deficit in Irish legislation,” he said.

“The US acted very quickly and there are serious questions about why we are not limiting interactions with such companies.” 

Mr Andrews said there were no employees at the Intellexa’s Dublin address.

Attempts to contact the Dublin office or the company by also went unanswered.

A spokesperson for the Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said Intellexa was not carrying out “substantial” business in Ireland.

“Ireland has a robust export control licencing and compliance system in place, operated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

“While the company in question is an Irish registered company it appears that it is not conducting any substantive business in Ireland and there is no evidence to suggest that its products have been exported from Ireland,” they said.

A spokesperson from the US State Department said: “The proliferation of commercial spyware poses distinct and growing counterintelligence and security risks to the United States, including to the safety and security of US government personnel and their families.

“The misuse of these tools globally has also facilitated repression and enabled human rights abuses, including to intimidate political opponents and curb dissent, limit freedom of expression, and monitor and target activists and journalists.”