Today, at the third Democracy Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Secretary Blinken announced that Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Poland and the Republic of Korea have joined Joint Statement on Efforts to Counter the Distribution and Abuse of Commercial Spywaree, launched by an initial group of 11 like-minded countries at the second Democracy Summit. The Joint Declaration jointly reaffirms the threat posed by the misuse of commercial spyware, and countries commit to working within their national systems to establish robust guardrails to address the proliferation and misuse of this sophisticated surveillance technology.

The United States’ flagship side event at the third Summit for Democracy, “Galvanizing Multi-Stakeholder Action to Combat the Misuse of Commercial Spyware,” highlighted the new countries of the Joint Declaration and, for the first time, provided a platform for victims of commercial spyware to spyware to share his experiences with ministers and other high-level participants from around the world. The event was also attended by an investigative journalist as well as representatives of a technology company and the investment community.

On March 19, the second day of the summit, the Joint announcement The countries will meet in person for the first time. It will be an opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned and identify ways to most effectively counter the misuse of commercial spyware.

At the second Summit for Democracy in March 2023, the United States announced important initial actions related to commercial spyware:

Last year, the United States implemented a whole-of-government approach to combat the spread and abuse of commercial spyware

  • On March 7, 2024, the White House convened members of the investment community for the first time for a dialogue on responsible investment of trusted capital in a range of areas impacting national security, including commercial spyware, artificial intelligence and cyber. among others. At this event, investors announced a set of voluntary principles and commitments to guide investments to promote the values ​​of free and open societies;
  • On March 5, 2024, the US Treasury Department issued an order Financial sanctions against five companies and two individuals They have engaged in commercial espionage programs that pose a threat to U.S. government counterintelligence personnel and have ignored calls for safeguards while continuing to enable human rights abuses. This is the first time that the US government has imposed sanctions on actors involved in the commercial abuse of spyware.
  • On February 5, 2024, the State Department announced a new visa ban policy to block entry into the United States of anyone who has engaged in or benefited from the misuse of commercial spyware;

Taken together, these actions demonstrate U.S. leadership in combating the threats posed by the distribution and misuse of commercial spyware and send a strong message that those who misuse or enable misuse of this technology will face consequences.

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