New US rules on spyware exports try to limit surveillance tech like Pegasus

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The US Department of Commerce announced a new rule to prevent the sale of hacking tools to China and Russia, The Washington Post reports. The Commerce Department outlined the change in a press release on Wednesday, which requires US companies to have a license in order to sell spyware and other hacking software to countries “of national security or weapons of mass destruction concern.”

The rule is complex and purposefully so. If a US company wants to export spyware to a government that poses a national security concern, the company would need a license. But if the software is specifically for cyber defense and not sold to anyone associated with the government, no license would be needed. As The Post explains, companies will need a…

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