European Parliament | Recommendations in Greece and Cyprus for misuse of spyware
Defence Redefined
Published on 16/06/2023 at 12:05

The establishment of strict rules to prevent the illegal use of spyware was approved by the European Parliament with 411 votes in favor, 97 against, and 37 abstentions.

MEPs stress that the illegal use of such programs has endangered democracy itself and call for credible investigations, changes in legislation, and better enforcement of existing rules to tackle abuse.

MEPs are calling for the use of spyware to be allowed only in exceptional cases, for a predetermined purpose, and for a limited period of time. They also want the creation of an independent European technology lab to investigate surveillance cases and provide technical support such as device testing and forensics.

Targeted advisories are directed at Hungary, Poland, Greece, Spain, and Cyprus following suspected misuse of this software.

The EP calls on the Greek government to urgently restore and strengthen institutional and legal safeguards, to abolish export licenses that do not comply with EU export control law, to ensure that the authorities can freely and without hindrance investigate all the allegations of the use of spyware and to respect the independence of the Greek Communications Privacy Authority.

Pointing out that Cyprus has also acted as a hub for the export of spyware, the EP calls for the abolition of all export licenses that do not comply with European legislation.

Also read: Finland | Finnish diplomats’ cell phones monitored using Pegasus software

MEPs call on Hungary and Poland to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and restore judicial independence and judicial oversight bodies. The two countries are also called upon to ensure that they grant independent and specific judicial authorization before the use of spyware, that they reliably investigate allegations of abuse, and that they guarantee that citizens have access to meaningful remedies.

The Spanish authorities should ensure that full, fair, and effective investigations are carried out, especially in the 47 cases where it is unclear who authorized the use of spyware. MEPs also call on the Spanish authorities to ensure that people targeted by such practices have access to effective legal remedies.

On the external side of the issue, MEPs believe there are strong indications that the Moroccan and Rwandan governments have spied on high-ranking EU citizens, including heads of state. They are calling for a thorough review of all spyware export licenses and for more effective enforcement of EU export control rules.

Parliament also calls for a joint EU-US strategy on spyware, to start talks with Israel and other non-EU countries on rules for the sale and export of spyware, and to ensure that EU development aid shall not be used to purchase or use such software.

Source: Euronews

Also read: Spain | Authorities detect spyware on Prime Minister’s and Defence Minister’s cell phones




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