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U.S. Imposes Unprecedented Sanctions on Greek Spyware Firm Intellexa for Targeting Officials and Activists

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against the Greece-based spyware company Intellexa, along with its executive leadership, for targeting U.S. officials, reporters, and activists. These sanctions, described as unprecedented, aim to curb the abuse of commercial surveillance technology.

The sanctions, announced on Tuesday, are against two key figures and five associated organizations linked to Intellexa. These parties were involved in the development, management, and distribution of spyware tools, which have been used to compromise the privacy of journalists, activists, and government personnel.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, emphasized the importance of these measures in combating the security risks posed by the misuse of surveillance technologies in the U.S. and abroad. He noted that the move underscores the U.S. commitment to setting standards for responsible technology use while safeguarding civil liberties and human rights worldwide.

This action marks the first time the U.S. government has sanctioned a company in the commercial spyware industry, reflecting growing concerns over the technology's ability to secretly harvest data from devices without the owner's consent.

The newly imposed sanctions restrict any business interactions between U.S. companies or citizens and the implicated parties, including Intellexa's founder Tal Jonathan Dilian and Sara Aleksandra Fayssal Hamou, a manager within the consortium.

Documents released by Amnesty International in 2022 reveal that Intellexa's Predator software has been sold to various governments globally for millions of dollars.

These developments follow an executive order by President Biden last March that bans the use of commercial spyware throughout the federal government.


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