The European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Surveillance Software (PEGA) makes damning recommendations to the Council and Commission that the Plenary will be asked to adopt on June 6 as regards Cyprus’ application of Union law on spyware.
On Monday, PEGA adopted the factual report on its investigative work over a period of one year and the accompanying text of recommendations.
The Committee suggests that Cyprus is an “important European export hub for the surveillance industry and an attractive location for companies selling surveillance technologies.”
In its list of recommendations, the Committee notes that Cyprus and Bulgaria became export hubs of surveillance software to repressive regimes around the world.
Regardless of the outcome of next month’s vote, the fact is that the 38-member PEGA has voted in favour of the two texts giving an official form and, thus, substance to the statements made, Philenews reports.
Specifically, PEGA notes: “There is evidence of malpractice in Cyprus with regard to the application of the EU regulation on dual-use items, which requires close monitoring”.
Dual-use software receives this label because it can be used either in a positive way for society or maliciously.
Cyprus is also asked to thoroughly evaluate “all export licenses issued for spy software and revoke them where necessary”.
As well as to review “the shipment of spy software material between the European Union market, between member states, and to map the various Israeli companies or companies controlled by Israeli citizens registered in Cyprus that are involved in such activities.”
Speaking during a press conference in Strasburg on Tuesday, PEGA rapporteur MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld said that authorities in Cyprus are not cooperating to provide data regarding the export of surveillance software.
She called on the European Commission to take responsibility, saying that the EU executive body has asked for clarifications from the authorities in Cyprus, Greece and France but the answer they get is that “everything is fine here. There is nothing to see”.
Cyprus came under PEGA’s eye following the case of the infamous “black spy van” case focusing on a company called WiSpear and headed by the former Israeli intelligence agent Tal Dilian.
This company is specialised in providing end-to-end WiFi interception and security solutions and was reportedly the owner of the black van which has been impounded in Cyprus.
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