Feeds

Spy tech exports from Europe face tighter scrutiny

Strasbourg mulls new rules on surveillance software by 2013

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The EU could soon introduce rules to monitor the deployment of internet censorship technology in autocratic regimes including China and Saudi Arabia.

The European Parliament is proposing a resolution to strengthen the accountability of countries that export gear used to block websites and eavesdrop on mobile communications.

"There is a race between those harnessing new media to the purpose of liberation and those who seek to use it for repression," said Richard Howitt, a British Labour-party MEP and the investigator appointed to look into the issue.

"I don't hesitate to say Vodafone must learn from doing Mubarak's bidding," he said in a canned statement, referring to the telco sending out pro-government propaganda and suspending its services in Egypt at President Hosni Mubarak's request weeks before a revolution forced the head of state to resign.

The resolution, which is expected to be passed in Strasbourg on Thursday, will ask the European Commission to come up with rules for improving oversight of EU countries' exports of tools that can be used for censorship by next year.

The use of surveillance, censoring and spy software came to light after nations bent on restricting access to information and communication channels turned to countries where freedom of speech and other human rights are supposed to be upheld.

Last year Lord David Alton of Liverpool called on the UK government to ban the export of espionage software and equipment, and questioned sales of Blighty-made gear to Iran and Yemen.

Foreign Office minister Lord David Howell of Guildford replied that there was "no evidence of controlled military goods exported from the United Kingdom being used for internal repression in the Middle East and North Africa".

However, he also said that "surveillance equipment, including telephone intercept equipment, covers a wide variety of equipment and software, and generally is not controlled because of its use for a wide variety of legitimate uses and its easy and widespread availability".

The resolution before the European Parliament also includes requests for EU member states to cooperate more consistently with the International Criminal Court for full and open investigations into secret renditions and for increased efforts to get everyone to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.