New Paper about Export Controls in 2015: Overview of Recent Developments
In 2015, the debate about how to best control exports of surveillance technologies from Europe to countries where they can be used to harm human rights was full of interesting developments. Most importantly, the European Commission pushed forward with the review of existing regulations and a new draft Regulation is expected in the coming months.
In the past year, the Commission conducted impact assessment of the different review options. It included both a public consultation via an online survey from July to October 2015, as well as a data-collection study by Ecorys and SIPRI. For many actors, the review process is an opportunity to integrate a stronger human-rights based approach, but also more effective control mechanisms.
Many argue that for this changes to be effective, definitions of surveillance technology will need to be improved. However, there has been considerable disagreement among exports on which technologies should be included on the control lists agreed by the Wassenaar Arrangement. In this context the paper by Thomas Dullien, Vincenzo Iozzo and Mara Tam is important as they propose very precise changes to the existing definitions. Their proposal avoids the pitfalls of overly broad definitions which can more easily be misused and harm security research while still ensuring that targeted surveillance technologies are controlled.
To help guide among different voices in this debate, we prepared an overview of some of the most recent policy developments in the export controls area. This ‘update’ to a CIHR report on the subject published earlier this year summarises several actions from the European Union institutions, as well key contributions from the civil society and technical experts.
More information on export controls of surveillance technology.