Amesys and Qosmos targeted by the judiciary: is there a new law on the horizon?

Following the complaints lodged by FIDH and the French Human Rights League (LDH) in November 2011 and May 2012 against Amesys and Qosmos the French judicial services commissioned an investigation. These two companies allegedly sold communications surveillance equipment to the Libyan and Syrian governments that enabled the intelligence services of Mouammar Gaddafi and Bachar El Assad to refine their instruments of repression against their own people,

Yet, Clémence Bectarte, coordinator of the FIDH Legal Action Group on the Amesys and Qosmos case, feels that the total lack of export regulations for surveillance equipment is regrettable: “ although the main goal is to use judicial means to end the sale of surveillance equipment to governments that seriously violate human rights, we also want to send out signals so that progress can be made on the legal front ”.
This message has been clearly heard and may soon turn into reality, according to the French Innovation and Digital Economy Minister, Fleur Pellegrin. When asked about the impact of the Amesys and Qosmos case, she said that France recently decided to amend the French law and ensure progress in legislation at the European level: “ The Internet surveillance technologies, especially the technologies at the heart of the network developed by Amesys and Qosmos, should be on the Wassenaar list. If negotiations among the European countries do not progress, we will impose a national framework on the French industry by the end of the year ”.

FIDH, which is composed of 178 human rights organisations from around the world, was pleased with this sign of progress since communications surveillance is a redoubtable weapon for human rights defenders.

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