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According to the new EU rules, companies that make spyware and export them, will need a license from December.
The rules will come in effect in December and this is why companies will need to apply for permission to export their spyware software. Spyware is an intrusion software according to EU’s definition. EU has a list of “dual use” and now spyware is going to be on that list. These dual use software are defined as software and technology that helps civilians and the military.
So if any software has dual use, it comes in that category. EU believes that these software might contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The restriction only means that if the companies want to export the software, they will need to get a license to export their spyware. Their sales wouldn’t be affected in UK.
Spyware is on the list of dual use along with nuclear reactors, ultra-high resolution cameras and rocket fuel. The situation is very confusing as on one side British government is trying to restrict these spyware and on the other hand the European commissioner is regulating the implementation of the law.
UK believes that although these software have practical uses, these software are a possible threat to their national security. This is why the UK government is so much against these spyware software. UK government believes that their citizens are going to be exploited by these software and it is not right that they violate human rights.
The British government believes that these software are available from a number of companies and that it is important that this issue becomes a global one. The government is working with many international partners so that these spyware companies could be controlled.
Trend Micro’s Rik Ferguson said that unlike many goods on the dual use list it is very hard to prevent these unauthorized export of spyware. He believes that this British and European technology shouldn’t be exported rather it should be kept in their own hands.
He believes that if these kind of software land in the wrong hands, European security might come under threat. He also believes that the tools that are going to be used by the criminals are no different from the commercial spyware that the legislation is always referring to.
He said that if the regulations had been put in effect earlier, then FinFisher (German company) would have been affected. This company once used to be a part of Gamma International which is a UK based company.
FinFisher offered their software FinSpy to an Egyptian security services company in 2010. People from Bahrain and Ethiopia claim that they were victims of the software that was given to Egypt by FinFisher. This is why the UK government believes that the use of this spyware software should be restricted and it shouldn’t be exported at all.
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