US acts to restrict sales of computer hacking tools abroad

The US Department of Commerce announced new rules aimed at restricting the sale of products aimed at hacking computers and other electronic systems to some countries with practices considered by Washington as “authoritarian”.

US companies and any companies that sell software used in spy services and produced in the United States will need a license to sell tools to certain foreign governments or any buyers, including intermediaries, located in Russia or China.

Historically, US companies were already required to seek a license from the federal government when selling sensitive encryption technologies or systems to intercept communications abroad.

“These controls are necessary because these tools can be used for surveillance, eavesdropping, or other actions that interrupt, deny or degrade the network or devices on it,” says a summary of the new rules.

Experts say it’s difficult to regulate this market because of the way the industry categorizes “offensive” and “defensive” security products. Depending on how a certain “defence” product is employed, it can turn into a spying tool.

The United States is one of the leaders in the sale of digital security products, alongside Israel. The rules will become final within 90 days, after a period of contributions from society.

The announcement follows allegations by the US Department of Justice against three former employees of the country’s spy community who offered computer hacking services to the UAE government, helping it to spy on dissidents and geopolitical rivals. The three men worked for a Maryland company before being hired by a local Emirati company.

Source: with Agencies


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