Predator Files scandal shows the need for legislative framework on intrusive spyware

Author: Caroline Rhawi



PR EU response legislative framework on intrusive spyware

Despite the continuous flow of unveiled spyware attacks against European journalists, politicians and civil society, sufficient action has still not been taken by the European Commission. The latest revelations, the Predator Files, show how EU countries failure to effectively regulate the sale and use of surveillance products has made Europe a paradise for spyware business.

In a debate in the European Parliament today, Renew Europe will be calling on the European Commission to finally react to the countless cases of abuses and propose legislative action against abusive surveillance spyware, based on the recommendations in Renew Europe MEP Sophie in 't Veld's PEGA report that was adopted by the European Parliament in June.

MEP Sophie in 't Veld (Netherlands), rapporteur for the report of the European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware (PEGA), said:

"Shady companies conduct their business freely and unhampered from Europe. Europe facilitates the sale of spyware that is being used for human rights violations around the world. EU governments too, use spyware for political purposes, eliminating vital democratic checks and balances. The inaction of the Commission is unacceptable. We expect a full follow up to Parliament’s report, not mere technical and non-binding “guidelines”. Anything less will shatter the Commission’s credibility on the rule of law, democracy and media freedom. No more excuses.”

The in 't Veld's report put forward first-of-its-kind recommendations to regulate invasive spyware at the EU-level, containing common legal conditions that Member States must fulfil before being allowed to use spyware, as well as technical conditions that the spyware itself has to meet to be lawfully used. Renew Europe emphasizes that the European Parliament's adoption of the recommendations was only the starting point - the actual work for the European Commission and Member States to get in place an EU legislative framework on intrusive spyware is starting now.


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