The United States is partnering with Australia, Denmark, and Norway on an export controls and human rights initiative over the next year to prevent the proliferation of software and other technologies that enable human rights abuses.

“We, Australia, Denmark, Norway, and the United States, recognize that advanced technologies are a vital part of global economic growth and communication, helping people become more interconnected, share knowledge, and advance freedom, democracy, and opportunity,” the nations said in a joint statement.

The four nations intend to establish a voluntary, nonbinding written code of conduct that other countries can sign on to which pledges them to use export control tools to prevent technologies from being used in serious human rights abuses.

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“Legitimate trade in these technologies, and responsible use, is essential for the well-being of our future generations,” the statement continues. “At the same time, authoritarian governments increasingly are using surveillance tools and other related technologies in connection with serious human rights abuses, both within their countries and across international borders, including in acts of transnational repression to censor political opposition and track dissidents.”

Further, the coalition will consult with industry and academia over the course of the next year to gain feedback and information on its efforts.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.