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British  Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the third Summit for Democracy.

- Photo via British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office -

Costa Rica and UK joint agreement on spyware

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Published on Tuesday, April 16, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services


Costa Rica and the United Kingdom had signed an agreement joint statement on efforts to counter the proliferation and misuse of commercial spyware. 

According to the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, this agreement is part of the issued statement signed by the governments of 11 countries on the need for domestic and international controls on commercial spyware technology.

The joint statement, which was announced at the third Summit for Democracy that was held in March, was agreed upon by the governments of Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

These countries recognize the threat posed by the misuse of commercial spyware and the need for strict domestic and international controls on the proliferation and use of such technology.

"Commercial spyware has been misused across the world by authoritarian regimes and in democracies," said the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in its statement. " Too often, such powerful and invasive tools have been used to target and intimidate perceived opponents and facilitate efforts to curb dissent; limit freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, or association; enable human rights violations and abuses or suppression of civil liberties; or track or target individuals without proper legal authorization, safeguards, or oversight."

According to the British authorities, the misuse of these tools presents significant and growing risks to our national security, including to the safety and security of our government personnel, information, and information systems.

Both governments agreed on countering and preventing the proliferation of commercial spyware, protecting individuals and organizations at risk around the world; defending activists, dissidents, and journalists against threats to their freedom and dignity; promoting respect for human rights; and upholding democratic principles and the rule of law. 

"We are committed, where applicable and subject to national legal frameworks, to implementing the Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies and the Code of Conduct developed within the Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative," noted the British Foreign Office.

With the signature of the mutual agreement, both countries are committed to observe five efforts such as:

  • Working within their respective systems to establish robust guardrails and procedures to ensure that any commercial spyware use by our governments is consistent with respect for universal human rights, the rule of law, and civil rights and civil liberties.

  • Preventing the export of software, technology, and equipment to end-users who are likely to use them for malicious cyber activity, including unauthorized intrusion into information systems, by their respective legal, regulatory, and policy approaches and appropriate existing export control regimes.

  • Robust information sharing on commercial spyware proliferation and misuse, including better identifying and tracking these tools.

  • Working closely with industry partners and civil society groups to inform their approach, help raise awareness, and set appropriate standards, while also continuing to support innovation.

  • Engaging additional partner governments around the world, as well as other appropriate stakeholders, to better align their policies and export control authorities to mitigate collectively the misuse of commercial spyware and drive reform in this industry, including by encouraging industry and investment firms to follow the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

This is the first time that Costa Rica and the UK have worked collectively to develop and implement policies to discourage the misuse of commercial spyware, authorities added.

As part of an international strategy to analyze the priorities related to cybersecurity and telecommunications, last week, the United States announced its support for Costa Rica in its development of effectively regulating and implementing trusted 5G networks.



What should Costa Rica do to establish trustworthy cyber security?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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