A Milestone Decision

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A computer popup box screen warning of a system being hacked, compromised software enviroment. 3D illustration.

The concept of innovation might be highly associated with the modern era, but in all honesty, humans have been creative for as long as we can remember. Over the years, this creativity has taken many shapes, therefore helping us achieve a range of objectives. However, once it took the shape of technology, the impact that emerged from it wasn’t anything like we have ever seen before. All of a sudden, we had a tool that wasn’t just useful in itself, but it also paved the way for a host of other useful things. The collection of such things would continue to swell up, as the world entered a new phase. Now, these were exciting times in every imaginable sense, however, they came at a huge expense. While the world was certainly getting more connected and better equipped to reach greater heights, it was also becoming increasingly vulnerable. You see, digital realm, despite all its brilliance, exposed us to the world in a way that essentially birthed communities of hackers and threat actors. This threat would only get more devastating with time and technological advancement, but following the cybersecurity crisis last year, the U.S. government looks ready to lead the retaliation. Their intention to do so is well and truly crystallized in their latest decision. Apart from cybersecurity, the decision also takes a stand for another grave issue.

The U.S. government has officially introduced a new rulebook for the export of hacking and surveillance tools. According to how the rules are constructed, they all but ban the said tools’ exportation to regimes long accused of violating human rights. Named as Interim Final Rule by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BJS), the rulebook is expected to be implemented within a span of 90 days.

The decision to place an embargo on the trading of such tools sets an important precedent in the world’s fight against cybercrime. It takes an even greater significance when you learn about how certain regimes these days are using technology to exploit the citizens.

“The United States is committed to working with our multilateral partners to deter the spread of certain technologies that can be used for malicious activities that threaten cybersecurity and human rights,” said Gina Raimondo, the Commerce Secretary.

Although this doesn’t mean that the authoritarian states won’t be able to avail such tools from other sources. Mind you, some of the largest spyware developers operate outside U.S., nevertheless, it should still be viewed as a step in the right direction.

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