15 July 2020
The Independent has revealed the the UK has been exporting surveillance equipment to dictatorships and other repressive regimes.
"The British government is providing more than a dozen repressive regimes around the world with wiretaps, spyware and other telecommunications interception equipment they could use to spy on dissidents, public records show.
Despite rules saying the UK should not export security goods to countries that might use them for internal repression, ministers have signed off more than £75m in such exports over the past five years to states rated “not free” by the NGO Freedom House.
The 17 countries include China, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as well as the United Arab Emirates, which was the biggest recipient of licences totalling £11.5m alone since 2015.
Human rights groups said the UK was developing a reputation for not conducting proper checks on who it sold arms to, while Labour called on the government to show it is working to prove that it is complying with its own rules against arming dictators.
Apart from the 17 countries, the UK has also exported such goods to other states that are not officially rated “not free” but where supplying spyware could raise eyebrows."
Full story: UK selling spyware and wiretaps to 17 repressive regimes including Saudi Arabia and China (The Independent)
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