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President Joe Biden says US can’t buy spyware that other countries have used against it

An illustration of a large eye surrounded by other eyes
Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

The Biden administration is trying to clamp down on the government’s use of any commercial spyware that could also be used by other countries to harm its interests. The president has signed an executive order saying that federal agencies can’t use spyware “that poses significant counterintelligence or security risks to the United States Government or significant risks of improper use by a foreign government or foreign person.”

The order spells out exactly what disqualifies spyware — software that steals information and data from a device without the user’s knowledge — from being used by the US government. It’s not allowed if it’s:

  • been used by a foreign person or government to target the US government
  • sold by an entity that’s interested…

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