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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

US Restricts Visas For Those Misusing Commercial Spyware

US Restricts Visas For Those Misusing Commercial Spyware
Husain Parvez Published on 7th February 2024 Cybersecurity Researcher

The Biden administration has introduced a new visa restriction policy aimed at curbing the misuse of commercial spyware. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the policy's broad target, stating it would affect those involved in the misuse of commercial spyware to target journalists, activists, perceived dissidents, members of vulnerable or marginalized communities, and the family members of these targeted individuals. The restrictions may also apply to those who facilitate or gain financial benefits from commercial spyware.

Blinken, in a press statement, pointed out the serious implications of spyware misuse, noting it has been "linked to arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings in the most egregious of cases."

This policy is part of a broader initiative that follows a March 2023 executive order by President Joe Biden, which aimed to restrict US government agencies from using commercial spyware that poses a security risk. This move came in response to an increase in hacks targeting US government employees, who had been compromised or targeted by commercial spyware.

The possible implications of the new policy are far reaching, potentially affecting US allies previously accused of using spyware against political opponents and journalists. The US has previously taken action against entities like the NSO Group, the Israeli-based developer of the infamous Pegasus spyware, by placing export limits to restrict the company's access to US components and technology.

These measures, along with the new visa restrictions, highlight the Biden administration's dedication to keeping its citizens protected from a scenario where commercial spyware is uncontrolled and rampant.

This comes amid growing international concern over the use of spyware by governments to suppress dissent and monitor perceived adversaries, signaling an urgent need for global cooperation and accountability in the digital age.

About the Author

Husain Parvez is a Cybersecurity Researcher and News Writer at vpnMentor, focusing on VPN reviews, detailed how-to guides, and hands-on tutorials. Husain is also a part of the vpnMentor Cybersecurity News bulletin and loves covering the latest events in cyberspace and data privacy.