Cybercrime: Middle East

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 15th December 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Solicitor General

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the letter to her of 11 November 2021 from ten hon. Members calling on the Government to blacklist the Israeli NSO Group in light of cyberattacks carried out on UK soil against refugees, activists and parliamentarians by Gulf states including Bahrain and the UAE; when she plans to reply to that letter; if she will make her policy to (i) impose a trade sanction on the NSO Group, (ii) suspend the Gulf Strategy Fund pending an independent inquiry into the human rights implications of its programmes, (iii) suspend UK spyware licences and cybersecurity contracts to Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia pending an independent investigation and (iv) publicly raise concerns with the Governments of Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia on their role in cyberattacks carried out in the UK using Pegasus software.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The letter of 11 November from the ten honourable members is being reviewed and a response will be sent in due course. It is important that we ensure that commercial cyber tools are used in a legal and responsible way. They should not be used in ways that threaten human rights. The UK is committed to countering the proliferation of high end cyber capabilities, and we will continue to work with international partners to achieve this. Commercial cyber tools should be used in a responsible way.

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