Washington, D.C., March 27, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists has welcomed President Joe Biden’s executive order restricting the U.S. government’s use of commercial spyware tools. The order, issued Monday, 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.
“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,” said CPJ U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen. “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.”
In 2021, the European Union adopted similar regulations on the export of surveillance technologies. Also that year, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed export controls on the Israel-based technology company NSO Group over its development of Pegasus spyware.