The Italian government has revoked a license that allowed Hacking Team to export its spyware products globally.
Pierluigi Paganini of Security Affairs reports the Italian government authority that oversees the export of "dual use" technologies, which goes by the name "Autorità per l’esportazione beni a duplice uso," revoked "with immediate effect" the license at the end of March.
Its decision to terminate Hacking Team's "global authorization" to export its surveillance software comes two years before the license's official expiration date on April 30, 2018.
According to ABC News, while the spyware firm can continue to sell its products in the European Union, it will now need to obtain "individual" licenses to sell in 46 countries, many of which have been accused of human rights abuses.
Those countries are Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Etiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, India, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Mongolia, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, the Philippines, Paraguay, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
"Yes, the global license has been suspended by MISE (the Italian Ministry of Economic Development) but Hacking Team still has approvals for all countries within the EU, and the company also expects to be given approvals for sales to countries outside the EU," Eric Rabe, Hacking Team’s spokesperson, said in an email to Motherboard.
The spyware firm has been here before. Motherboard recently obtained an email which highlighted how Hacking Team operated under the same export restrictions between October 2014 and April 2015. After some intense lobbying, it was able to convince the Italian government to grant it "global authorization" for an original term of three years.
It is unclear why the Italian authorities decided to revoke the authorization two years early, though a statement issued by the MISE authority to Motherboard cites "changed political situations" in some of the countries included on the original export list.
News of this development follows several months after hackers leaked 400GB of data pertaining to the spyware firm's operations.