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U.S. Implements Visa Ban to Counter Spyware Proliferation

February 7, 2024


The U.S. State Department announced Monday a new policy to impose visa restrictions on individuals linked to the misuse of commercial spyware tools that enable unlawful surveillance and human rights abuses globally.

“The misuse of commercial spyware threatens privacy and freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the statement. “Such targeting has been linked to arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings in the most egregious of cases.”

The policy allows visa denials on a case-by-case basis for those involved in spyware misuse. This includes individuals who facilitate, direct, or financially benefit from companies providing technologies like spyware to governments for abusive monitoring of dissidents, journalists, and marginalized groups.

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