Foreign abusers of commercial spyware hit with new visa restrictions (Defense One)


    Foreign abusers of commercial spyware hit with new visa restrictions – By Patrick Tucker (Defense One) / Feb 5, 2024

    The Biden administration is hoping to deter the use of advanced surveillance tools.

    Commercial spyware is a national-security threat, White House officials said Monday, announcing visa restrictions on foreign actors who misuse it against U.S. citizens.

    Such software, which can include things like keyloggers, location trackers, can help adversaries obtain personal data from citizens, government workers and even U.S. service personnel, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

    “We’ve been very clear that it also relates to what we view as counterintelligence and security risks for American citizens as well as U.S. government personnel,” the official said, pointing to a March 2023 executive order that prohibits U.S. government use of commercial spyware.

    “At the time, we made clear publicly that we were tracking over 50 U.S. government personnel…in over 10 countries on three continents that had been targeted by commercial spyware. So for us, this is another step, another policy that we are initiating, that will help ensure accountability and is intended ultimately to both shake this ecosystem, but also better protect U.S. government personnel, including our servicemembers,” the official said.



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