The writer is the International Policy Director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center.
More than a decade later, the democratic government finally began to awaken to the dangers of commercial spyware.Recent media reports have revealed how authoritarian regimes are using NSO Group’s Pegasus software Spy journalists and politicians. The EU is now tightening rules on exports of surveillance technology, and the U.S. Department of Commerce last week engaged Israel-based NSO Group and three other hacking companies in activities that “contrary to the interests of national security or foreign policy.” I’m doing it. ” American”.. However, these modest steps are not enough. What is needed is a global standard for governing technologies that violate the right to privacy, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
From crippled ransomware to suspicious neural algorithms that use AI to identify suspicious non-verbal activities to technologies that detect faces and emotions, software applications that contradict the values of liberal democracy are proliferating.
Traditionally, export control is imposed on products that threaten national security, such as products that could boost the production of nuclear weapons. The EU has recently expanded its export regime to include spyware technology and added human rights abuses as a measure of potential harm. However, because NSO Group is based outside the EU, it is outside the jurisdiction of Brussels. Without broader international agreements, options to curb these companies are limited.
The lack of global restrictions poses an additional risk of reliability. How can liberal democracy tackle human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes, even though it effectively allows the development and marketing of digital weapons?
Restricting exports may help prevent the flow of technology from democracy to dictatorship, but imports and domestic use remain unresolved.Pegasus Project clearly In the heart of the EU, how Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has deployed a commercial surveillance system targeting the few independent media remaining in his country.
Even some democracies like the Netherlands are guilty of procuring hacking and surveillance systems, but have not disclosed any. Undoubtedly, they would argue that these are only used to track the most serious criminals and suspected terrorists. However, this gives credibility and capital to highly harmful industries. If democracy is serious about curbing surveillance, it needs to exercise greater transparency, set an example and take the lead.
Beyond the ad hoc measures and restrictions that apply to individual businesses, the United States needs to work with the EU and other voluntary countries to set new international standards for the use and trade-in of spyware.This will be a concrete result of President Biden’s future Democracy Summit, A US-led virtual conference in early December aimed at preventing authoritarianism, combating corruption, and promoting human rights.
Beyond spyware, a variety of technologies deserve scrutiny and regulation. Illegal mass surveillance systems, facial recognition software, and tools used for illegal cyber operations are traded across borders to promote oppression, conflict, and instability.Insufficient cyber security Now a systematic source of risk This threatens the resilience of the country. Greater adjustments are needed to ensure that currently legal technologies do not provide a means of widespread infringement.
In addition, international agreements between democracies against the abuse of technology help set multilateral norms. This week, UN human rights experts warned once again how technology companies are functioning as modern “mercenaries.” “Private sectors offer a wide range of military and security services in cyberspace, including data collection, intelligence, and surveillance,” they warned.
In the future, licensing requirements should become the default for technology companies that violate the human rights standards of democracies. This will give you better control over end-use and exports. Regulations also allow mapping of how software is deployed, increasing transparency. Similarly, companies need to strengthen their own risk management. The credibility of democracy is at stake if tech companies can undermine global security unimpeded.
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