TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Thursday, Jan 26, 2023

Top EU official calls for ‘judicial guarantees’ to stop abuse of spyware

Top EU official calls for ‘judicial guarantees’ to stop abuse of spyware

‘We need an EU approach to end the malicious use’ of hacking tools, Commission vice president says.
The European Union needs to draw a line between what is acceptable use of hacking tools by law enforcement and what is malicious use of spyware for political and corporate espionage and against journalists and civil society, the bloc's Vice President Margaritis Schinas said Thursday.

“We need some order, we need a framework, we need judicial guarantees and we need an EU approach to end the malicious use of these products,” Schinas said.

The use of hacking tools has sparked political crises in Poland, Hungary, Spain and Greece, following revelations that political opposition figures, members of civil society and journalists were targeted with hacking software.

Schinas, a Greek national, was nominated to the European Commission by the Greek government and is a member of the ruling New Democracy party of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – a party that’s under heavy fire from political opposition and human rights groups over alleged abuse of spyware by government authorities.

Greece’s bugging furor escalated dramatically on August 5, when two top officials from the center-right administration of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis lost their jobs after it transpired that the phone of Nikos Androulakis, head of the center-left Pasok party, had been wiretapped. Mitsotakis’s government admitted it acted wrongly but said the wiretap was conducted legally by the spy service — though it is still refusing to say why, citing national security.

Muddying the case, a separate attempt was made to hack Androulakis’ phone around the same time with illegal software called Predator, but Athens is strenuously denying that its secret agents had any connection with that.

The European Commission itself has also been a victim of spyware. Reuters reported in April that Commissioner Didier Reynders was among several top EU officials who had been targeted by spyware called Pegasus, and POLITICO confirmed that one of those officials was a staffer for European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová.

The European Parliament launched a special inquiry committee to investigate its use but the Commission has struggled to take action against national governments, which have claimed the use of hacking tools falls under national sovereignty. Still, the EU in past years has legislated and litigated how surveillance tools like data retention are used by national security authorities and how it strikes a balance between privacy and security on issues like encryption.

"We do not have such a system for spyware. And this annoys me," Schinas said.

The vice president said the need to strike “the right balance” between the necessity for intelligence services to “chase the bad guys” while respecting EU rule of law in terms of judicial control and data protection.

The Commission chief was speaking to reporters in Brussels for the launch of a new EU cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Resilience Act, which aims to better protect internet-connected devices from hackers.

The new Internet of Things cybersecurity law could better protect smartphones and software products from spyware intrusions. But the Commission's proposal steers clear from regulating the use of hacking tools for malicious purposes.

The EU executive will present another bill on Friday to better protect journalists and media across the bloc, called the Media Freedom Act. A draft of the proposal obtainted by POLITICO would stop governments from hacking phones and devices used by journalists and their families to track them. However, it would still leave national capitals with the possibility of using such tools if they can cite national security or a serious crime investigation, POLITICO reported earlier.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
Close
0:00
0:00
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Mission Improbable: Tom Cruise & Queen Elizabeth
Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico are not single anymore
Matt Hancock is back to the jungle
×