Germany’s ministry of economics has agreed on a new law that will impose controls on the export of surveillance technologies but EU reform on export controls is still stalled.
The German amendment will subject companies that sell products that can used for surveillance to new mandatory licensing measures. Telephone monitoring and companies’ data retention will face extra regulation.
Germany’s ministry of economics described the new regulation as a move to prevent the use of surveillance technologies for “internal repression” in other countries and said it was stronger than current EU laws.
A spokesperson for the ministry confirmed that the amendment does not need to be voted on in the Bundestag and would go into effect in the coming weeks after Chancellor Angela Merkel signs off on it.
German Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement, “European regulations for the export of such technologies to other countries have been incomplete up until now.”
The German government, Gabriel said, “is closing control loopholes now that are still being debated in Brussels. We’re going to advocate in Brussels and internationally for fast European and worldwide regulations.” Gabriel noted that surveillance technologies can be used to suppress human rights.
EurActiv recently reported that the European Parliament would vote on Dutch Liberal MEP Marietje Schaake’s report on the export of surveillance technologies during yesterday’s plenary session in Strasbourg. That vote didn’t take place.