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President Biden speaks while visiting the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland on Dec. 2. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday announced a global initiative aimed to prevent authoritarian governments from using technology for surveillance and human rights abuses, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Many authoritarian governments rely on imported technology to implement state surveillance networks.

Details: The U.S. and allies will create a code of conduct for export licensing and share information on sensitive technologies that are being weaponized against political dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and government officials, per WSJ.

Worth noting: President Biden has already banned Americans from investing in companies linked to China's military and its surveillance activities.

Go deeper

Nov 16, 2021 - World

Olympics sponsors caught between U.S. and China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies that do business in China — especially Olympics sponsors — are concerned Beijing will use the 2022 Winter Games as a loyalty test.

Why it matters: China's leaders have become adept at silencing criticism from U.S. companies that might otherwise condemn the country's human rights record — and the Chinese government has been able to host prestigious global events like the Olympics while committing rights violations with impunity.

Dec 6, 2021 - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Report: Pegasus spyware used to target El Salvador journalists

An NSO group building in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Pegasus software accessed the phones of at least 35 journalists and other citizens in El Salvador in a hack attack on news outlet El Faro and other targets in the country, per a new report.

Why it matters: Wednesday's report by cybersecurity watchdogs Citizen Lab and Access Now comes some two months after the U.S. government added NSO Group, the Israeli firm that produces Pegasus, to its black list of companies engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.