Third Way Applauds White House Executive Order on Spyware Procurement
WASHINGTON – Third Way released the following statement from Mike Sexton, Senior Policy Advisor for Cyber to Third Way’s National Security Program:
“On Monday, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order prohibiting the US from procuring commercial spyware from firms like NSO Group that have hurt American national security or facilitated international human rights abuses. The order is thorough and strict, creating an exceptionally high bar for foreign spyware companies to do business with the United States.
“The historic magnitude of this order cannot be overstated. As Sophie in ‘t Veld – Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur of its spyware-investigating PEGA Committee – has pointed out, the EO positions the US as a leader relative to EU member governments, which so far have broadly failed to limit spyware procurement to match their legal commitments to human rights. Placing the US at the vanguard of the democratic world in promoting freedom, privacy, and the rule of law online is nothing short of a profound achievement.
“Still, there is more work to be done. The scope of this order is narrowly on US procurement – we can go further to systematically impose penalties on abusive spyware firms, including those that either willingly or incidentally forgo doing business with the US government. Congress can enshrine mechanisms of the EO into the National Intelligence Authorization Act, preventing them from being scrapped by a future president. And we must work with our allies and partners to internationalize our standards through channels like the Summit for Democracy so we may further eliminate hiding places for spyware companies that endanger our security and principles.”