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30 Jul 2021

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch says unchecked spyware industry enables human rights abuses, urges governments to regulate & halt trade in surveillance technology

"Unchecked Spyware Industry Enables Abuses", 30 July 2020.

... Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch [said] “NSO Group and its competitors cannot regulate themselves, and governments should urgently suspend sales and transfers of surveillance technology while they investigate and regulate this industry.”

NSO Group has repeatedly denied the news reports, claimed that the reporting is “erroneous and false,” and said it “will no longer be responding to media inquiries on this matter.” Previously the company claimed that the reporting was based on “wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories.” ...

Human Rights Watch joins other groups in urging that at a minimum:

  • Governments should immediately implement a moratorium on the sale, export, transfer, and use of surveillance technology until adequate human rights safeguards are in place...
  • The sale, export, and transfer of surveillance technology should only be allowed to resume once governments put in place enforceable legal frameworks requiring human rights due diligence that prevents surveillance technology from reaching governments that do not have human rights safeguards in place. Governments that have demonstrated substantial disregard for human rights and a pattern of abusive use of technology should be on a “no sale” list.
  • Governments should also require private companies to disclose information on products and services offered, the results of their regular due diligence, and their sales and exports, and potential clients rejected for failing to meet standards of human rights...