Sunday, June 4, 2023

The U.S. and others are promising human rights-related export controls

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is set to announce a partnership on Friday with Australia, Denmark, Norway, Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to stop the flow of sensitive technology to authoritarian governments.

According to a White House statement, the partnership, called the Export Control and Human Rights Initiative, calls on countries to adapt their policies on key technology exports and develop a voluntary written code of conduct to apply human rights criteria in export licenses.

Efforts have been made to combat the rise of “digital authoritarianism” in countries such as China and Russia, where software and advanced surveillance technologies have been used to track dissidents and journalists, shape public opinion, and censor information deemed dangerous by the government.

The announcement will be part of the final day of the Democracy Summit, a virtual meeting of White House officials from more than 100 countries aimed at strengthening democracy.

In an effort to synchronize export controls across countries, U.S. officials are hoping to help authoritarian states create a wider network to prevent access to key technologies, as well as help companies with U.S. operations operate on a more equal playing field.

The government’s export controls, especially against China, restricted ZTE, Huawei and other Chinese technology firms during the Trump administration from accessing sensitive technologies such as Beijing’s quantum computing, advanced semiconductor chips and artificial intelligence. this could give him an advantage over his army or build a Chinese surveillance state.

But critics say the measures have failed to achieve their goals, focusing solely on American exports. Although companies that manufacture products in the United States no longer ship certain goods to China, competitors in Japan, Europe, and other countries have continued to trade. This has prompted some high-tech companies to spend more on research and development outside the U.S., maintaining access to the lucrative Chinese market.

The technology developed by America has also been used by authoritarian governments for abominable purposes such as monitoring and censoring its citizens.

A joint statement issued on Friday said that Australia, Denmark, Norway and the United States “are increasingly using surveillance tools and other relevant technologies in connection with serious human rights violations both within their own countries and across international borders.” more often, including in acts.Transnational repressions to censor political opposition and track dissidents.

They added: “Such use runs the risk of losing the benefits that advanced technology can bring to the nations and peoples of the world.”

A White House statement said this week’s summit will focus on how best to strengthen the domestic legal framework, exchange information on threats and dangers, and share and develop best practices in controlling technology exports.

Next year, countries are expected to consult with academics and industry representatives on their efforts. Any decisions on the management of certain technologies are voluntary and implementation is at the discretion of individual countries.

The Biden administration continued the trend of flattening export controls in companies that began under the Trump administration, which violated human rights, including supporting China’s repression of Muslim minorities.

This week, the Biden administration announced new restrictions in Cambodia to address human rights abuses, corruption and the growing influence of the Chinese military in the country. In November, the administration blacklisted the Israeli technology firm NSO Group, claiming that the company had knowingly delivered spyware used to target the phones of dissidents, human rights activists and journalists.

The administration has also accelerated export control talks with Europe this year through a partnership called the Trade and Technology Council. However, given that there is no legal basis for banning imports across the EU, decisions on these restrictions apply to its member states.

The United States is already part of a multilateral agreement on export controls, known as the Wassenaar Agreement, established in 1996. But critics say the group, which has more than 40 members, including Russia, has acted too slowly to keep up with the pace of technological development. development

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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