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19 Jul 2021

David Kaye and Marietje Schaake, The Washington Post

Commentary: Global spyware such as Pegasus is a threat to democracy - but there are ways to stop it

“Opinion: Global spyware such as Pegasus is a threat to democracy. Here’s how to stop it.”, 19 July 2021.

…[A] global consortium of news organizations...reports that Israel’s NSO Group has sold its marquee spyware, Pegasus, to clients that have deployed it against the very pillars of democratic life: press freedom, the presumption of innocence, privacy, and freedom of expression and association.


We are on the precipice of a global surveillance tech catastrophe, an avalanche of tools shared across borders with governments failing to constrain their export or use. The international community should take action to constrain the global spyware industry.

…[G]overnments should implement a moratorium on the sale and transfer of spyware technology until a global export regime can identify and place these tools under global restraint.


..Governments using these technologies must put in place transparent, rule-of-law based requirements for any use of spyware. Any government that fails to develop such requirements — or that has a pattern of abuse — should be on a global no-transfer list.


..[T]he victims of spyware must be granted the ability to sue governments and companies involved in the surveillance industry.


Finally, the companies themselves need to be subject to multi-stakeholder constraint.