The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to block a lawsuit brought by WhatsApp challenging the alleged mass phone hacking by Israeli spyware maker NSO Group.

More than 1,400 devices belonging to journalists, activists and government officials were compromised by Pegasus, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement, NSO Group spokesperson Liron Bruck said the company is “confident” that the court will determine the use of Pegasus by its customers was legal. WhatsApp spokesperson Carl Woog told TechCrunch that the company was “grateful to see the Supreme Court rejected NSO’s baseless petition” and that NSO “must be held to account for their unlawful operations.”

In November, journalists from an investigative news outlet in El Salvador also sued NSO in a U.S. court after Pegasus spyware was detected on their iPhones. These journalists are being represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We’re pleased that the Supreme Court rejected NSO Group’s petition. Today’s decision clears the path for lawsuits brought by the tech companies, as well as for suits brought by journalists and human rights advocates who have been victims of spyware attacks,” said Carrie DeCell, senior staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute. “The use of spyware to surveil and intimidate journalists poses one of the most urgent threats to press freedom and democracy today.”

Supreme Court declines to block WhatsApp lawsuit over NSO phone hacking by Carly Page originally published on TechCrunch