No more Made in EU cyber surveillance tools for dictators, say S&Ds

Laptop with 3 surveillance cameras

The trade committee of the European Parliament voted today on proposals to tighten the control system for the export of dual-use items, goods and technologies that can be used for both military and civilian purposes. Since 2014 the Socialists and Democrats have been pushing to include information and communication technology, notably surveillance software, in a strict control regime. Under the leadership of the S&Ds, the trade committee today adopted a report with strong human rights criteria; an EU control list of dual-use goods not yet falling under multilateral control regimes; guidelines for authorities on licensing and for companies on due diligence; comprehensive reporting requirements for member states’ licensing authorities to increase transparency, thereby considerably broadening the initial Commission proposal. The push for stricter export controls comes as part of a broader S&D campaign for a progressive trade policy which wants the EU to lead the race to the top on standards and values. 

Bernd Lange, S&D negotiator on the control of export of dual-use goods and chair of the trade committee, said:

“Today’s vote in the trade committee is an important step towards tighter controls for the export of dual-use goods. We want to ensure that dictators can no longer use ‘Made in Europe’ surveillance tools to snoop on human rights’ defenders and journalists which, in the past, have sadly led to cases of torture and imprisonment. European trade has to be based on values and the protection of human rights must be at its core.”

S&D spokesperson on trade, Alessia Mosca, MEP, added:

“We are proud of what the Socialists and Democrats achieved in today’s vote on the dual-use regulation reform. As frontrunners since the beginning, we fought for more transparency, clear provisions on due diligence, anti-circumvention and more integration among member states. With this reform, the EU will retain its global leadership in the fight for democracy and rule of law, the core values of our common project.”