US planning global push to restrict surveillance tools to authoritarian regimes

The U.S. is planning a global push to restrict surveillance tools to authoritarian regimes, senior Biden administration officials told multiple media outlets Thursday. 

The initiative among friendly countries would put in place conduct rules for exporting surveillance tools to countries that would use them to suppress human rights, The Wall Street Journal reported

An agreement would be reached among countries on export-licensing policies to limit technologies to nations that have been accused of using such products to suppress their populations.


“This is a group of like-minded governments who will commit to working together to determine how export controls could better monitor and, as appropriate, restrict the proliferation of such technologies given their increasing misuse by end users in human rights abuses,” a senior administration official told the Journal.

The initiative is set to be announced at the first Summit for Democracy scheduled for on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10.

The names of the countries involved in the agreement were not shared with the Journal or Bloomberg, but officials said those involved in the export-control program for weapons, the Wassenaar Arrangement, could be participating.

“Technology is being misused by governments to surveil and, in some cases — as in the case of the PRC — to control their population,” another official said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

China has been accused by multiple countries of running a totalitarian surveillance state, strongly censoring free speech and the internet and widespread human rights violations, including genocide against Uyghur Muslims. China has denied all allegations and decried the upcoming summit.