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US announces visa restriction policy for those misusing commercial spyware

By Christopher Bing and Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The United States on Monday announced a new visa restriction policy for those it said were misusing commercial spyware.

The policy announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken will allow the State Department to impose visa restrictions for individuals believed to have been involved in the misuse of commercial spyware, as well as for those who facilitate such actions and benefit from it.

The policy will also apply to investors and operators of the commercial spyware believed to be misused, a senior U.S. official said, adding that at least 50 U.S. officials have been targeted by commercial spyware in recent years.

President Joseph Biden signed an executive order last year to curb the malicious use of digital spy tools around the globe that target U.S. personnel and civil society.

In March last year, the United States and some of its partner countries called for strict domestic and international controls to counter the proliferation and misuse of commercial spyware.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Christopher Bing in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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