On occasion of the Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Reporters without Borders today published a position paper, calling on the EU Commission to make surveillance and censorship technologies from Europe subject to export controls. The paper has been introduced by Christian Mihr, Executive Director of Reporters without Borders German section, on a panel at the Internet Governance Forum and has also been submitted to Neelie Kroes, Commissioner for the Digital Agenda in Europe.
Spyware is used to spy on contents of other hard-disks, gain access to passwords, or monitor e-mail and phone communication. It can be installed on computers or introduced into the network via false update notices or e-mail attachments without the user’s knowledge. Civil use of this type of programmes is limited. Some manufacturers explicitly supply state players, such as secret and security services, while others advertise the fact that they can specifically identify and monitor political opponents. In authoritarian regimes, it is often used to spy on journalists and their sources to suppress freedom of information.
Matthias Spielkamp, Member of the Board of Reporters without Borders Germany states: “European companies are exporting surveillance technology to totalitarian states, thereby contributing decisively to the suppression of freedom of information on the Internet”
We strongly urge European legislators, the Commission and Member States to recognize their responsibility to protect Human Rights around the world, and act accordingly.
You can download the RWB position paper on the export of European surveillance technology (November 2012) here: TBC
_ Ulrike Gruska
_ Tel.: 0049 30 / 202 15 10 16