Dual use regulation: cyber-surveillance technology must not be used against human rights

by Jennifer Richard

Today, the European Parliament adopted a revision of the exports control regime for dual-use items. The legislation now includes cyber-surveillance technologies. Renew Europe welcomes this much-needed update, that ensures new technological developments do not fall outside of the scope of European export rules.

Renew Europe pushed for an ambitious update to take into account the human rights and security risks of cyber-surveillance technologies. “We should never allow cyber surveillance technologies to end up in the wrong hands. Sadly we have seen these technologies being deployed against civilian populations, for instance the use of spyware in Hong Kong”, explains Liesje Schreinemarcher (VVD, Renew Europe), shadow rapporteur on the Parliament’s Trade Committee.

The position of Renew Europe in these negotiations has been clear: European technologies can never be used against human rights. Therefore, Renew Europe welcomes the obligation to get an authorisation for the export of specific cyber-surveillance items if these are or may be intended for use for internal repression, serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. With rules that reflect reality, we can prevent cyber-surveillance technologies from being exported when they are intended for internal repression or violations of human rights” adds Liesje Schreneimacher.

With this update, there will also be more possibilities to add emerging technologies to export control lists. EU Member States will also have to exchange more information with each other. Renew Europe believes it is important to avoid national divergences.

Our group remain committed to improving transparency. An annual report shall be made publicly available which will include information on authorisation, denial and prohibitions under the regulation. It is of utmost importance that we continue to monitor dual use regulation closely to remain in line with new technological developments. This concerns our own security as well as human rights globally”, concludes our shadow rapporteur.

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