USA banned four European commercial spyware vendors over national security risks

The US government added European spyware vendors to the Entity List for posing a threat to national security and human rights violations.

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The US government banned four European commercial spyware vendors of Intellexa and Cytrox. They were added to the US Entity List after determining that they threaten US national security and foreign policy.

The ban on the vendors came after their involvement in ‘trafficking cyber exploits to gain unauthorized access to the devices of high-risk individuals threatening security and privacy.’ US State Department claims that the surveillance tools deployed by these companies pose a threat to the national security of the USA and the security of US government personnel. The vendors were also accused of misusing spyware tools and thus violating human rights, including the intimidation of political opponents, restriction of freedom of expression, and freedom of the press.

The US government has included these spyware entities in the Entity List, aligning with previous regulatory efforts to tackle risks posed by commercial spyware companies. This move reflects the Biden administration’s stance, demonstrated by the Executive Order (EO) prohibiting the government’s use of such spyware for national security risks. Additionally, the US Commerce Department had previously sanctioned four companies from Israel, Russia, and Singapore for developing or selling spyware tools by state-sponsored hacking groups.