Germany clamps down on spy tech exports to Turkey, citing human rights deficiencies
BERLIN - The Associated Press
Chairman of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) Sigmar Gabriel speaks during a debate alongside the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) leader, ahead of the upcoming European elections, May 18. AFP PhotoGermany has said it will restrict exports of surveillance technology to states that fail to respect their citizens’ human rights, including Turkey and Russia.
German Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said the move is designed to prevent spy software made in Germany from being used for internal repression by autocratic regimes.
Speaking to German media outlets WDR, NDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung, Gabriel said Turkey and Russia were among those countries.
“Countries who want to defend Internet freedom cannot provide technology to those regimes that monitor Internet users and therefore breach fundamental human rights,” Gabriel said.
Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders welcomed the decision. Rights groups have in the past accused German companies of selling spy software to countries such as Bahrain and Uzbekistan, where the technology has allegedly been used to monitor dissidents and journalists.
Gabriel said in a statement on May 20 that he wanted all 28 European Union countries to agree on common standards for the export of surveillance technology.
In the meantime, Germany will block exports on a case-by-case basis. Gabriel’s office declined to reveal which countries would be affected.