Human rights may now be invoked to strengthen control over the export of Internet surveillance data from the European Union (EU).
This possibility is included in rules on the export of dual-use goods – goods that can be used for both civilian and military applications – adopted on Wednesday by the European Parliament, with 571 votes for, 29 against and 29 abstentions.
Technology enabling users to intercept and locate mobile phones, circumvent passwords or identify Internet users are covered by the new rules.
“Authoritarian regimes too often use European technology to spy on or hack their own citizens, journalists and human rights defenders,” Hilde Vautmans, a European parliamentarian from the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld) party, commented after the vote.
“The European Parliament now has a clear position: no export when human rights are violated. Values and safety have finally been placed at the heart of the export policy,” she added.