(WASHINGTON) US President Joe Biden has issued an executive order banning the use of malicious private spyware by all branches and agencies of the US government, the White House announced Monday.
The text prohibits software that poses a “significant risk” to the security of the United States, or a “significant risk” of diversion by a foreign government intended to violate human rights, according to a statement from the House of Representatives.
And that, whether manufactured by American or foreign companies, defines the American CEO.
Spyware is sophisticated monitoring tools that allow remote access to electronic devices, especially smartphones, without the knowledge of their users.
They make it possible to refer to the activity and contents of electronic devices, and even to change their operation.
“The proliferation of private spyware poses a specific and growing risk” to the United States, particularly to “the safety of US officials and their families,” notes the US executive.
Targeting 50 Americans
A senior White House official said that the US government has so far counted 50 officials in 10 countries who have been targeted or may have been targeted by malicious spyware.
The White House notes that “an increasing number of foreign governments around the world are using this technology for the purposes of repression,” “intimidation,” and surveillance against “political opponents” and “activists and journalists.”
This decree by the US president is part of the second “Democracy Summit”, a largely virtual event organized at the initiative of the United States, which opens on Tuesday and lasts three days.
“We believe that this decree will give impetus to reforming a sector that is largely unregulated and not subject to sufficient control,” the senior official said, quoting the senior official.
“We’ve seen attempts by spy companies to try to break into the federal government to show and sell their tools to them,” said the source, who was speaking in an interview with the press and asked not to be identified.
But he said the United States would not publish the names of spyware companies whose products are subject to the new ban.
The subject of private spyware has come to the fore in the international scene in particular, after successive revelations about the program Pegasusissued by the Israeli company NSO.
The latter was blacklisted in November 2021 by the United States.
In July 2021, a coordinated multimedia investigation revealed a list of more than 50,000 names of individuals who may have been spotted online. Pegasus.
These allegations have sparked scandals and sometimes legal action in several countries, including the creation of a special commission of inquiry in the European Parliament.
In the United States, the FBI admitted to guardian They got a “limited license” to “test.” Pegasus. The US Federal Police confirmed that they had never used this tool in investigations, and that they wanted above all to understand how it worked.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has launched a legal battle against NSO, accusing it of using WhatsApp servers to set up PegasusWhile in November 2021, Apple filed a lawsuit against the Israeli company in a federal court in California, accusing the Israeli company of planting the software on iPhones.
NSO is not the only company in Americans’ eyes. The Commerce Department has also placed another Israeli company (Candiru), a Russian company (Positive Technologies) and a Singaporean company (Computer Security Initiative Consulting PTE) on its blacklist, restricting trade with the companies involved.
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