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EU Commission to step up export controls on surveillance software

Posted by malcolm on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 at 16:00

The European Union is to tighten controls on the export of surveillance tools, while loosening controls of the export of encryption software, Ars Technica reports.

The proposal for a new Regulation on "dual-use" military exports would introduce a limited "general authorisation" for the export of encryption software, which the European Commission says "could be especially useful given the commercial importance and wide circulation of these items". A new initiative that aims to control the export of surveillance technologies to oppressive States would introduce a new list of controlled technologies, with detailed technical parameters, together with a general "catch-all" clause which would apply where there is evidence a particular unlisted technology might be misused. 

The Regulation, which dates from 2000, covers exports of "dual-use" technologies: technologies that might be used for strategic or military purposes, but can also have ordinary civilian uses. Amongst other reforms, the Commission proposes to further harmonise licensing for the export of controlled products, and to create a mechanism whereby export companies would be licensed and monitored for all their exports, rather than requiring individual licenses for each export.

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