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After the NSO scandal, the Department of Defense tightened restrictions on cyber exports

The Department of Defense is imposing new restrictions on the export of cyber warfare tools after a major international backlash after human rights abusers around the world reportedly used Israeli-made surveillance software against journalists, activists and political rivals.

This summer, an international consortium of journalists reported that the Israeli company NSO Group had helped governments spy on dissidents and human rights defenders. NSO insists that its product was only designed to help countries fight serious crime and terrorism. However, due to the broad definitions some countries use for these crimes, the software appears to violate a wide range of numbers.

In response, the Department of Defense’s Department of Defense Export Controls is releasing an updated version of its “End Use / User Certificate,” which is more clearly defining what is and is not terrorism and serious crime, “to blur the definitions,” the department said .

Terrorism is generally defined by the ministry as violent activity or threats of violence aimed at intimidating a population, inducing a government to act or not, or destabilizing a country or international organization.

In the new form, however, it is expressly stated that “the expression of an opinion or criticism … should not in itself constitute a terrorist act” or a “serious criminal offense”.

The regulation also prevents Israeli systems from being used “to harm a person or group of people based solely on their religion, sex or gender, race, ethnic group, sexual orientation, nationality, country of origin, opinion, political affiliation “. , Age or civil status. “

If these conditions were violated, Israel would have the right to revoke the export license. According to the Ministry of Defense, these new regulations were developed by a joint team from the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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