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European technology will not serve dictators, decided the European Parliament

© European Union 2021 - Source : EP

Brussels, 26 March 2021 – Authoritarian regimes will no longer be able to use modern European technologies to oppress their citizens. The European Parliament approved the revised Dual-use Regulation. Dual use goods can be used for civilian and military purposes, including, for example, drones and computer technologies. The rapporteur for the Regulation was the Pirate MEP Markéta Gregorová, who sees the enforcement of the Regulation as a major political success. All in all – 642 MEPs voted in favor, 37 were against and there were 9 abstentions.

The Dual-use Regulation focuses mainly on new developments in technology and responds by introducing a cyber-surveillance technology item as well as a helpful list of those. Thanks to the regulation it will be possible to expand the list according to what is currently happening globally. “As it could have been in the case of last year’s protests in Belarus. There, Lukashenko used DPI (deep-packet inspection) technology to limit internet services, thus complicating communication for protesters. Now such a threat can be assessed and the export of technology can be flexibly limited,” explains Gregorová.

The Dual-use Regulation for the first time contains strict export controls for surveillance technology, due diligence obligations for EU governments and transparency provisions on the type of surveillance technology exported and the name of the recipient country.

“The new set of rules is crucial for civil society to have control. Non-profit companies, watchdog organizations, journalists and others will now be able to much easier investigate for information what cyber-surveillance goods are exported to what country. Access to information now unleashes their hands to identify problematic companies or areas, as for example would be the case with the German company FinFisher, that imported smartphone control software to Turkey, where it suppressed opposition to the regime and had to be discovered only through investigatives,” says Gregorová.

Gregorová considers it a success that the regulation included a definition of cyber-tracking, from which the basic list of controlled goods is derived. “But I also managed to enforce the so-called catch-all clauses or we could say capturing everything. It is a big win for global human rights. European cyber surveillance will no longer help authoritarian regimes to oppress their citizens. I am glad that the regulation brings an opportunity for the responsible authorities to extend autonomous control of goods that are not on the dual-use goods list, depending on which technology in the world is contributing to the repression or violation of human rights. This will lead to more flexibility. If we had only a rigid list, in three years it would no longer be up to date and could be circumvented,“ concludes Pirate MEP Markéta Gregorová.

The Regulation will enter into force unchanged in all Member States within a few days.

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