EU lawmakers to vote on controlling the export of dual-use cyber surveillance tools

Cyber surveillence law
Photo: Pixabay
Cyber surveillence law
Photo: Pixabay

Today, Europe’s Parliamentary Trade Committee will vote on export control reforms that regulate cyber technologies with the potential to undermine human rights.

Part of the EU’s ‘Trade for all’ strategy—which emphasises human rights, responsible business practices and fair and ethical trade– the proposed reforms introduce a targeted catch-all clause in the EU’s export regime on surveillance technologies.

Reform comes on the back of revelations that BAE, Britain’s largest arms dealer, sold mass surveillance technology to former Tunisian President Ben Ali—the first dictator toppled in the Arab spring—and at least six other Middle Eastern regimes.

Organisations will be obliged to apply for export licences if they suspect a product may be used for violating human rights at its final destination. Implementation and authorisation will be managed by member states that will track and publish annual data on licensed exports.

An amended bill is expected to pass muster today. EU representatives will then need to negotiate a compromise with individual member states. Negotiations will likely centre on the loosening of encryption technology regulation, on which states have an iron grip.

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