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Export Controls Agreed on Electronic Surveillance Tools

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Wassenaar Arrangement, a group of 41 countries focused on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technology, agreed at its Dec. 3-4 annual plenary meeting in Austria on new export controls on cybersecurity technologies that under certain conditions may be detrimental to international and regional security and stability. One area subject to the controls (which must be implemented by each WA member country, including the U.S.) is surveillance and law enforcement/intelligence gathering tools, which Privacy International states includes malware and rootkits that governments can use to avoid security features on electronic devices and extract data from and take control of them. The other area includes Internet protocol network surveillance systems or equipment, which a Financial Times article states includes technologies that allow users to screen data for hidden viruses, malware or surveillance programs and are of concern because enemies could use them to “foil cyber attacks or gain an intimate understanding of Western screening systems and their fallibilities.”

A WA press release states that plenary participants also further clarified existing controls on inertial measurement equipment or systems and relaxed controls on instrumentation tape recorders and digital computers, reported progress on a comprehensive and systematic review of the Wassenaar Lists to ensure their continued relevance, and have continued to exchange information and views aimed at strengthening national export control implementation in areas such as prevention of destabilizing accumulations of conventional arms, end-use(r) assurances, controls on transit and transshipment, brokering and re-export.

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