Obama clamps down on snooping software

Barack Obama will today call for sanctions against companies that help governments use web and smartphone tracking to carry out human rights abuses.

Obama clamps down on snooping software

Although social networks and other communications have been credited with helping to organise activists in uprisings such as the Arab Spring, authoritarian governments have been accused of using snooping software on their citizens to target opposition movements.

The software and monitoring technology is often made and sold by Western companies, which profit from regimes that use web and phone networks to gather information on activists or political opponents.

According to sources quoted by The Washington Post, Obama’s executive order will initially target foreign companies and professionals that are helping Syria and Iran, but the order could be extended to include other countries.

According to officials, on top of sanctions against companies supplying snooping services, Obama will also announce a set of development “challenge” grants aimed at setting up programs to help citizens in volatile countries to keep each other informed of impending dangers.

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