Group hits British government over spyware

July 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM
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LONDON, July 26 (UPI) -- Rights group Privacy International says it's taking legal action against the British government over the sale of surveillance technology to repressive regimes.

The group says the government is not living up to the Export Control Act 2002 meant to restrict exports that could contribute to internal repression or breaches of human rights, TG Daily reported Wednesday.

"British companies have been peddling their wares to repressive regimes for years now," Privacy International head of research Eric King said.

"Publicly condemning the abuses of dictators like [Bashar Assad] while turning a blind eye to the fact that British technologies may be facilitating these abuses is the worst kind of hypocrisy."

"The government must stop exports of British surveillance technologies to despotic regimes before more harm is done."

Privacy International says it's written to British Business Secretary Vince Cable, asking why the government has ignored repeated requests to take action.

If the government doesn't respond, the group said, it says, it will file for judicial review and may also seek an injunction preventing British companies from maintaining and updating systems already sold to repressive regimes, and halting any new exports.

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