Security News > 2023 > May > US govt pushes spyware to other countries? Senator Wyden would like a word
The US International Trade Administration has admitted it promotes the sale of American-approved commercial spyware to foreign governments, and won't answer questions about it, according to US Senator Ron Wyden.
Wyden, in a letter to US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, has demanded answers about the surveillance and policing tech that ITA - a US government agency - pushes to other countries.
ITA is housed within the US Commerce Department and tasked with promoting American exports.
The senator first requested info from ITA about promoting spyware abroad in May 2022.
Commercial spyware has historically been used to target activists, journalists, and political dissidents, and when it ends up in the hands of authoritarian regimes, these people can end up dead. In March, the agency told Wyden's office that it had a new policy to restrict the promotion of these types of products in the works - but ITA refused to share that policy without a formal request.
The letter to the Dept of Commerce comes a couple of months after US President Joe Biden issued an executive order to prohibit the US government from using commercial spyware.