Israel issues stricter guidelines for use of its cyber tech exports

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JERUSALEM, Dec 6 (Businesshala) – Israel said on Monday that countries wishing to buy its cyber technologies would only have to commit to using them to prevent terrorist acts and a limited list of serious crimes.

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The move announced by Israel’s Defense Ministry was the latest step in increasing its surveillance following concerns over possible misuse abroad of hacking tools sold by Israeli firms such as the NSO Group.

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An updated certificate signed by purchasing countries lists in detail what qualify as “terrorist acts” – such as attacks on people, public facilities, confiscation of aircraft, release of dangerous substances – as well as “serious crimes” that warrant mention. punishable with imprisonment of six years or more.

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“In this context, the definitions of serious crimes and terrorist acts have been intensified to prevent blurring of boundaries,” the Defense Ministry said.

It also describes uses that are prohibited – such as targeting people for political affiliation or applications that break that country’s privacy laws – for which Israel can revoke licenses and shut down the system.

Israel has been under pressure to curb spyware exports since July, when a group of international news organizations reported that NSO’s Pegasus tool had been used to hack the phones of journalists, government officials and rights activists in several countries. .

Those reports prompted Israel to review the cyber export policy administered by the Defense Ministry.

Last month, Israel was reported to have cut the list of countries eligible to buy its cyber technologies.

NSO has denied any wrongdoing, saying it only sells its equipment to governments and law enforcement agencies and has safeguards in place to prevent misuse.

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Reporting by Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovich; Editing by Nick McPhee

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