Germany clamps down on exports of surveillance technology

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BERLIN – Germany says it will restrict exports of surveillance technology to states that fail to respect their citizens’ human rights.

Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel says the move is designed to prevent spy software ‘Made in Germany’ from being used for internal repression by autocratic regimes.

Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders welcomed the decision. Rights groups have in the past accused German companies of selling spy software to countries such as Bahrain and Uzbekistan, where the technology is allegedly used to monitor dissidents and journalists.

Gabriel said in a statement Tuesday that he wants all 28 European Union countries to agree on common standards for the export of surveillance technology.

In the meantime, Germany will block exports on a case-by-case basis. Gabriel’s office declined to reveal which countries would be affected.

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