Nov 10, 2020 - Technology

Europe limits exports of surveillance technology

A photo of EU flags

Photo: Thierry Monasse via Getty Images

The European Parliament on Monday approved a law to limit the export of surveillance technologies that have the potential to be used to violate human rights.

Why it matters: Such products, which may also have legitimate uses, can be used to aid repressive regimes, criminal interests and domestic abusers.

Details: The new law applies to a range of technologies, including spyware and facial recognition technology, per MIT Technology Review.

  • The rules don't ban sales of the technology, but strengthen disclosure requirements, which proponents hope will lead to fewer abuses.
  • According to MIT Tech Review, "governments must either disclose the destination, items, value, and licensing decisions for cyber-surveillance exports or make public the decision not to disclose those details."

What they're saying: "Today is a win for human rights globally, and we set an important precedent for other democracies to follow suit," European Parliament member Markéta Gregorová said in a statement, per MIT Tech Review. "The world’s authoritarian regimes will not be able to secretly get their hands on European cyber-surveillance anymore."

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