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EU placing new restrictions on facial recognition and espionage technology exports

Companies should now obtain licenses to sell such products abroad
EU placing new restrictions on facial recognition and espionage technology exports

The European Union is working on a plan to increase the strictness of export criteria for biometrics and other technologies outside the region that can be used for surveillance and espionage, Politico reports.

According to two officials involved in the negotiation, the new measures would affect exports of “dual-use” technologies, such as facial biometrics and hacking software.

The regulations are expected to be agreed upon in the next few weeks and will include a specific list of technologies that will require the new licensing procedures.

They will also introduce a further layer of scrutiny, requiring that these technologies are unable to be utilized to violate human rights. The U.S. has reportedly pushed the EU to restrict exports to some entities in China since placing sanction on Huawei and other Chinese companies.

The new investigation by Politico also revealed the new rules to have a larger scope than the Wassenaar arrangement regulations decided for “dual-use” goods.

In fact, following the enactment of the new criteria, facial recognition and intrusion software will be regulated more substantially by EU authorities.

The fact these probes will primarily remain within individual governments’ decisional power, however, will make them subject to different standards and potentially lax interpretations of the law.

On the other hand, if used correctly, the new criteria would empower the EU to act as a stronger entity in controlling and uniting certain sensitive exports related to biometrics, as well as other technologies.

Governments would be forced to meet transparency requirements which would allow NGOs and human rights groups to point out countries that flout human rights.

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