The European Commission proposed an update to the dual use regulation last year, which controls when companies can export products that can be used either as weapons or for civil purposes. The regulation was agreed in 2009, and the updated proposal adds new restrictions for firms that sell technology products that can be used for surveillance to countries outside the bloc.
MEPs want to restrict companies from exporting those products that can be used for online surveillance if they may harm human rights.
That marks a change from the Commission’s original proposal, which suggested applying the human rights control to a broad range of dual use items, extending beyond technology products to equipment and other products that can be damaging.
Restrictions on technology exports are a focus of the Commission’s proposal: the EU executive came under pressure to create safeguards after software from European companies were used to spy on protestors during the Arab Spring.