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Export Control News

May 20, 2016 – U.S. Targets Spying Threat on Campus With Proposed Research Clampdown – The State Department is seeking to increase restrictions on industry-sponsored research and decrease the likelihood that such research would fit within the Fundamental Research Exemptions. The State Department believes these changes are necessary to counter economic espionage by foreign nationals, viewing Universities with their open research environments as “soft targets.” The Association of American Universities and others have publicly spoken out against these proposed changes.

April 26, 2016 – After Missteps, U.S. Tightens Rules for Espionage Cases – The Justice Department issued rules to allow prosecutors in Washington greater oversight and control over national security cases after high-profile cases, including that against Temple University Professor, Xi Xiaoxing, were dropped for insufficient evidence. Critics argued that these cases were brought disproportionately against Chinese-Americans and alleged profiling.

November 23, 2015 – Possible Easing of Sanctions Against Iran – The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) reached on July 14, 2015, provides for an easing of certain U.S. sanctions against Iran, provided the Implementation Day under the JCPA is reached. Article provides an overview of what this would look like. Most military and dual use items would still not be available for export to Iran, but some services would be permitted as well as financial transactions, and would permit licenses to be issued for subsidiaries of U.S. corporations to do business with Iran.

November 19, 2015 – Re-Evaluate (Self-Defeating) Anti-China Export Controls, Commission Recommends – The Congressionally created U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released their annual report, recommending that the U.S. review restrictions on exports to China in light of the realities of the current global market, including the current ability of China to import similar technology and items from non-U.S. sources.

September 1, 2015 – Charges Against Professor Dropped – The U.S. Justice Department had arrested Xi Xiaoxing, chair of Temple University’s physics department and accused him of sharing the schematics of a protected device known as a “pocket heater” with collaborators in China. However, experts subsequently testified that the schematics the Justice Department held as evidence were for a different device that is not export controlled, and the government dropped charges citing “new information.”

July 20, 2015 – Google Opposed to Proposed Export Controls on Hacking Software – Google stated that new rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce would hurt the security research community  by restricting the export of intrusion software, Internet surveillance systems and other similar technology. A Google employee argued that these proposed regulations, intended to increase security, would actually result in making computer users less secure.

January 31, 2014 – AECA “Knowing” Violation – The Fourth Circuit Court found that a Defendant may be found to have violated the Armed Export Control Act even without specific knowledge that the export item was regulated as a “defense article.”  Where a Foreign Service Officer attempted to ship more than 7,000 rounds of 9mm and 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition to Amman, Jordan, it was enough that the officer was aware that this shipment would have been illegal, even if he did not understand why.

November 1, 2012 – Why the Professor Went to Prison – Professor John Roth from University at Tennessee became the first University professor prosecuted and convicted for violated of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). Roth was working on a NASA-funded project on technology controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) on plasma actuators for unmanned aerial drones. Roth involved graduate students from Iran and China, took a laptop with technical data to China, and had other technical data emailed to him while he was in China. Roth was convicted and served four years in prison.