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US Gov Targets Spyware Bigwigs with Visa Restrictions

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TLDR:

  • The US State Department has implemented visa restrictions on individuals involved in spyware development and sale.
  • This action aims to combat the misuse of spyware targeting journalists, human rights defenders, and others.

The US government has issued visa restrictions on 13 individuals linked to the development and sale of commercial spyware, along with their immediate family members. These restrictions allow the State Department to deny entry into the US for those accused of profiting from spyware-related human rights abuses. The move is part of efforts to address the misuse of spyware against journalists, academics, dissidents, and government personnel. The restrictions come after the announcement of a visa-restriction program targeting spyware in February.

The US government has been working to combat the use of commercial spyware by authoritarian governments, which is considered a human rights abuse. The infamous Pegasus mobile tracking tool developed by NSO Group has been implicated in attacks on civil society by repressive regimes, leading to increased scrutiny. Other efforts include limiting the US government’s use of such spyware, implementing export controls and sanctions, as well as fostering public-private threat intelligence partnerships.

Key Takeaways:

  • Visa restrictions imposed on individuals involved in spyware development and sale.
  • Efforts by the US government to combat the misuse of commercial spyware targeting journalists and human rights defenders.


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