EU wants firms to stop selling surveillance tools to repressive regimes

We are all aware of the fact that some regimes have no qualms about spying on their citizens in order to keep tabs on dissenters. Nevertheless, last week’s revelation by WikiLeaks about the myriad of technology firms that sell their mass surveillance and spying products to a variety of government and law enforcement agencies around the world created quite a stir.

Now Neelie Kroes, EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner, is calling for those very firms to be more careful and transparent about which governments they are selling their wares. “If technology is used by certain repressive governments to identify innocent citizens and put their life or freedom in danger, we ought to know,” she says, so that the European Commission could appropriately sanction these countries.

She doesn’t yet mention which specific countries should companies avoid selling to, or who would decide which country should end up on that list, but she does say that she would like to see the entire industry “promote freedom of expression and privacy”.

In addition to that, she believes that the European Union should work on creating tools capable of shielding the people in countries with repressive regimes from such surveillance and to deliver these to tools to them, as well as educate them on the dangers and risks that the various types of online communication hold for them, reports ZDNet.

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