How to regulate US companies’ tech exports?

Jillian York writes an op-ed for al-Jazeera on the state of different US non-governmental and legislative efforts to regulate US companies’ export of technology that could be used for surveillance or repression.

Non-governmental efforts, like multi-stakeholder efforts including the Global Network Initiative and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, haven’t shown themselves to have much effect on the companies’ human rights concerns in their foreign exports. Voluntary codes don’t seem to work

Governmental efforts haven’t come into much force yet — Congress is revisiting the proposed Global Online Freedom Act this year, with the Secretary of State & Secretary of Commerce designating certain countries as having a bad enough record on ‘Internet freedom’ that tech exports to them should be restricted. Exporting companies would have to apply for a special license to export to these flagged countries.

York & company are still worried that there may be bias in the designation — that US allies will never be subject to the restrictions, whatever their record on surveillance and human rights.

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