The European Union (“EU”) is expected to propose tighter rules on the export of dual-use technologies. This is revealed in a leaked document proposing changes to Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (the “Dual-use Regulation”). The document, first obtained by the independent European media platform, Euractiv, shows that the EU could introduce new export controls for cyber-surveillance technologies when it publishes amendments to the Dual-use Regulation later this year in September.
The use of EU-origin surveillance technologies has been a concern for the EU in recent years and there is a growing fear that these technologies can be misused by repressive regimes in violation of human rights or against the EU’s security. From the leaked document it appears that the proposed amendments to the Dual-use Regulation will extend the existing definition of dual-use items, to include: ‘cyber-surveillance technology which can be used for the commission of serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law, or can pose a threat to international security or the essential security interests of the Union and its member states.’
Should the proposed amendments be implemented, the new measures will require companies to go through lengthy approval processes when they export technologies such as location-tracking devices, biometrics and surveillance equipment. This may affect manufacturers and distributors of smartphones and GPS gadgets, because of such devices’ location-tracking capabilities.
The leaked document can be found here.