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The U.S. Cracks Down on Exports of Hacking Tools and Spyware

MIN READOct 20, 2021 | 21:03 GMT

A woman checks the Pegasus spyware website at an office in Nicosia, Cyprus, on July 21, 2021.

A woman checks the Pegasus spyware website at an office in Nicosia, Cyprus, on July 21, 2021.

(MARIO GOLDMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

New U.S. export controls on hacking and cyber-surveillance software will limit the proliferation of such tools being developed in the West, though at the risk of at least temporarily undermining cybersecurity research. On Oct. 20, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security issued a new interim final rule that will tighten export restrictions on cyber tools used for surveillance, espionage and other malicious activities. Under the new rule, exports of hacking tools to government end-users in a select number of countries -- including Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates -- will need a special license granted by the U.S. Commerce Department. Exports to non-government users in those countries for research and other cyber defensive purposes will not need a license. Exports to all end-users who pose a national security threat to the United States or against which the United States has an arms embargo --...

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