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Defense ministry tightens restrictions on cyber exports in the aftermath of the NSO scandal

Defense Ministry imposes new export restrictions on cyberwarfare tools following major international backlash after Israeli-made surveillance software allegedly used against journalists, activists and political rivals by human rights violators around the world.

This summer, an international consortium of journalists reported that the Israeli company NSO Group had helped governments spy on dissidents and human rights defenders. NSO insists that its product was only intended to help countries fight serious crime and terrorism. However, due to the broad definitions that some countries use for these offenses, the software appears to have been against a wide range of numbers.

In apparent response to this, the Defense Export Control Agency of the Ministry of Defense is issuing an updated version of its “End User / User Certificate,” which more clearly defines what constitutes terrorism and what does not constitute terrorism and serious crimes “in order to avoid confusion of definitions on this subject,” the ministry said.

Terror is generally defined by the ministry as violent activity or threats of violence aimed at intimidating a population, influencing a government to act or not, or destabilizing a country or an international organization.

However, the new form explicitly states that “an act of expressing an opinion or criticism… does not, in itself, constitute a terrorist act” or a “serious crime”.

The settlement also prevents Israeli systems from being used “to inflict harm on an individual or a group of individuals simply because of their religion, sex or gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, country of origin. origin, opinion, political affiliation. , age or personal status.

If these conditions are violated, Israel would have the right to revoke the export license. The defense ministry said the new regulations were developed by a joint team from the defense and foreign ministries.

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