President Joe Biden on Monday issued an executive order restricting the U.S. government’s use of commercial spyware tools. The order prohibits executive departments and agencies from using the spyware if they determine it could pose significant counterintelligence or security risks to the U.S. government or be used improperly by foreign agents.
CPJ’s U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen welcomed the move, saying, “President Biden’s executive order limiting the United States’ use of commercial spyware is an important step in recognizing and mitigating the harm that these technologies can have on journalists and democratic institutions more broadly.”
Jacobsen added: “This order serves as an important reminder as this week’s Summit for Democracy begins that unfettered use of technology to surveil journalists is a threat to core democratic values in the U.S. and abroad.”
The global use of spyware has prompted what CPJ views as an existential crisis for journalism and the organization has been among those calling for moratoriums on its use. Read CPJ’s special report on spyware’s threat to press freedom globally
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