Washington, Feb 6 (IANS) The US government has announced a new policy that will allow the imposition of visa restrictions on people involved in the misuse of commercial spyware.
The misuse of commercial spyware has been linked to arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the most egregious cases.
In addition, misuse of these tools presents a security and counterintelligence threat to US personnel, the government said in a statement.
The new policy covers investors and company officials, as well as those acting on behalf of governments that conduct illegal surveillance.
The policy will be enforced using information from an individual’s visa application.
“This new policy is the latest action in the U.S.’s comprehensive approach to countering the misuse of commercial spyware. Previous actions have included the issuance of an executive order prohibiting the use of U.S. government of commercial spyware that poses a risk to US national security or foreign policy interests,” the US State Department said.
The misuse of commercial spyware threatens privacy and the freedoms of speech, peaceful assembly and association, the government said.
In March of last year, Joe Biden’s government through an executive order said that it “will not make operational use of commercial spyware that poses significant counterintelligence or security risks to the US government or risks significant of improper use by a foreign government or foreign person.” .