EU wants better controls over spying tech

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The European Union is planning on tightening up control over exporting devices that can be used to intercept mobile phone calls, hack computers or bypass passwords. 

European Parliament’s trade committee voted on the matter, with 34 being in favour, and just one being against a planned update to export controls on devices that have “dual use” - essentially meaning that they may be able to be used by a foreign state to suppress its opposition.

The EU has been keeping a close eye on “dual use” products since 2009, when it paid attention to products like toxins or lasers. Now, it seems as devices that can potentially be used for surveillance are also making the cut.

According to Reuters, this move is part of EU’s strategy to “take advantage of the trade vacuum left by more protectionist U.S. President Donald Trump both in terms of striking trade accords with other countries and setting values for global trade.”

The same report says EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom has been pushing to stop trading in torture equipment and lethal injection drugs to the US, making it harder for the country to perform executions.

The proposal will go in front of the parliament in December or January, after which it will be discussed with EU countries.

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