The United States Department of Commerce said today that it will begin imposing greater control over the sale of cybersecurity tools and surveillance software to nations that may constitute a national security danger.
The Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an interim regulation to limit the “export, re-export, or transfer” of specific products that it believes might be used for harmful cyber operations.
“These items warrant controls because these tools could be used for surveillance, espionage, or other actions that disrupt, deny or degrade the network or devices on it,” argues the BIS in the rule.
The new law will go into effect in 90 days and would include software like Pegasus, spyware produced by the Israeli NSO Group that has lately been exposed as being used by several governments to monitor dissidents and journalists.
According to the new law, any sale of such software and equipment to nations such as China and Russia would require a licence from the BIS, which will only provide one after properly verifying the end user.
According to reports, the Commerce Department claims that the regulation was carefully written to allow US-based cybersecurity experts to collaborate with their counterparts throughout the world.
“The Commerce Department’s interim final rule imposing export controls on certain cybersecurity items is an appropriately tailored approach that protects America’s national security against malicious cyber actors while ensuring legitimate cybersecurity activities,” clarified Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo through a statement.
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