Biden Blocks Government from Using Spyware

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – On Monday, President Biden issued an executive order that prohibits commercial spyware from being used in the U.S. federal government as this software could end up being a risk to national security and could be used to target certain personnel.

This order extends to every department and agency and it bans any commercial spyware that a foreign government or foreign person could use in order to access government electronic devices. It would also include any spyware which uses data in order to gain access to certain information and devices without the proper authorization from the government. Spyware that is being controlled by foreign governments is also banned.

With this move, Biden is attempting to provide greater protection to the U.S. government personnel who might have otherwise fallen victim to security risks. It would also provide them with more information about the situations in which spyware has been deliberately used in order to target Americans without having the proper authorization or required consent.

A senior administration official noted that they have cases where “U.S. personnel overseas have been targeted by commercial spyware,” and that this step is going to help them better determine the extent to which these individuals were targeted.

The U.S. government has identified devices associated with 50 U.S. government personnel overseas in more than 10 countries who had been “targeted by commercial spyware.” The order does not require a list of banned spyware to be created.

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