WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The U.S. government says it will restrict its use of commercial spyware tools that have been used to surveil human rights activists and journalists around the world.

The executive order issued Monday by President Joe Biden responds to growing concerns about programs that can capture text messages and other cellphone data.

Some programs — so-called “zero-click” exploits — can infect a phone without the user clicking on a malicious link.

Commercial spyware has made powerful tools newly available, but also created what researchers and human-rights activists warn are opportunities for abuse and repression.

The White House released the executive order in advance of its second summit for democracy this week.

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