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EU agrees new rules on the sale & export of surveillance technology

In a victory for human rights, the European Union will introduce a set of new rules providing greater accountability and transparency in the trade of dual-use items (goods, materials, software and technology which can be used for both civilian and military purposes).

The new rules are designed to prevent tools such as facial recognition technology and spyware from being used to violate human rights. European companies will have to apply for government licenses to export certain products and will be required to consider whether the sale poses a risk to human rights.

The decision follows research and pressure from Amnesty International and other groups over cases including the export of digital surveillance tools to Chinese authorities accused of human rights abuses.

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