The US government is reportedly looking to lead other nations in prohibiting the export of surveillance tools to authoritarian countries that could use them to commit human rights abuses.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Biden administration is expected to “launch an initiative with friendly nations to establish a code of conduct for coordinating export-licensing policies” at the Summit for Democracy event hosted by the US Department of State that starts on Dec. 9.
The report cites unidentified administration officials who told the Journal that countries participating in this initiative will also “share information on sensitive technologies used against political dissidents, journalists, foreign government officials and human rights activists.”
It’s not clear what countries will be part of this initiative at the start, but based on existing US policies and the Summit for Democracy’s invite list, it seems likely that the export controls will be intended to prevent advanced surveillance technologies from being sold to Russia and China
This report follows the US Department of Commerce’s addition of NSO Group, Candiru, Positive Technologies, and Computer Security Initiative Consultancy to the Entity List for selling their spyware to governments that used them to target journalists, human rights groups, and others.
Recommended by Our Editors
That makes it harder for the quartet to do business with American companies. It doesn’t prevent them from selling their existing surveillance tools to authoritarian countries, however, and the new export rules expected to be announced at the Summit for Democracy might change that.
Like What You’re Reading?
Sign up for Security Watch newsletter for our top privacy and security stories delivered right to your inbox.