News

Why an Arms Control Pact Has Security Experts Up in Arms

Posted June 24, 2015

Security researchers say a proposed set of export rules meant to restrict the sale of surveillance software to repressive regimes are so broadly written that they could criminalize some research and restrict legitimate tools that professionals need to make software and computer systems more secure.

Critics liken the software rules, put forth by the US Commerce Department, to the Crypto Wars of the late ’90s, when export controls imposed against strong encryption software prevented cryptographers and mathematicians from effectively sharing their research abroad.

Critics liken it to the Crypto Wars of the late ’90s when export controls imposed against strong encryption software prevented cryptographers and mathematicians from sharing their work.

Full Article: Why an Arms Control Pact Has Security Experts Up in Arms

U.S. Charges Six Chinese Nationals With Economic Espionage

Posted May 19, 2015

The U.S government charged six Chinese nationals with economic espionage, saying they stole secrets from two companies that develop technology often used in military systems, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

It was the third time in as many years that U.S. authorities have made accusations of economic espionage conducted on behalf of China, a sign that the United States is increasingly focused on what it has termed a top national security concern.

Full Article: U.S. charges six Chinese nationals with economic espionage

Chinese Hackers Force Penn State to Unplug Engineering Computers

Posted May 15, 2015

Penn State University, which develops sensitive technology for the U.S. Navy, disclosed Friday that Chinese hackers have been sifting through the computers of its engineering school for more than two years.

One of the country’s largest and most productive research universities, Penn State offers a potential treasure trove of technology that’s already being developed with partners for commercial applications. The breach suggests that foreign spies could be using universities as a backdoor to U.S. commercial and defense secrets.

The hackers are so deeply embedded that the engineering college’s computer network will be taken offline for several days while investigators work to eject the intruders.

Full Article: Chinese Hackers Force Penn State to Unplug Engineering Computer

 

What Every American University Should Know About the Deemed Export Rule

Posted July 15, 2014

“Did you know that a product does not have to travel across the U.S. border to be considered an export? In fact, an export need not involve a product at all. Under the rules governing deemed exports, merely exposing a non-U.S. citizen to information about export-controlled technology, even on U.S. soil, may be treated as an export. Such a disclosure of information, if made without a proper license, is potentially a violation of federal law that could result in harsh penalties. It is therefore vital that universities researching, or utilizing, export-controlled technology thoroughly understand this rule and how the exemption for “fundamental research” may — or may not — apply” (Inside Counsel).

Full Article: What Every American University Should Know About the Deemed Export Rule

ISU Grad Student Accused of Trying to Sell Military Secrets to China

Posted June 30, 2014

“A grad student at Iowa State University is one of two people arrested on allegations they tried to sell military secrets to China, according to court documents unsealed late Friday” (Ames Tribune).

Full Article: ISU Grad Student Accused of Trying to Sell Military Secrets to China

FBI-Students Abroad Warned of Foreign Intelligence Threat

Posted May 14, 2014

“According to the Institute of International Education, more than 280,000 American students studied abroad last year. These experiences provide students with tremendous cultural opportunities and can equip them with specialized language, technical, and leadership skills that make them very marketable to U.S. private industry and government employers.

But this same marketability makes these students tempting and vulnerable targets for recruitment by foreign intelligence officers whose long-term goal is to gain access to sensitive or classified U.S. information” (fbi.gov).

Full Article: FBI-Students Abroad Warned of Foreign Intelligence Threat

Full Article and Video: FBI-Students Abroad Warned of Foreign Intelligence Threat

Scientist Charged in Iran Export Case

Posted March 24, 2014

— Mohamad Reza Nazemzadeh just wanted to share his MRI research with his native country.

But prosecutors say the nationally-recognized scientist violated a federal ban against doing business with Iran, allegations that have led to criminal charges and potential prison time” (The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC).

Full Article: Scientist Charged in Iran Export Case

Don’t Forget About The Deemed Export Rule: BIS Imposes $115,000 Penalty for Deemed Export Violations

Posted February 27, 2014

“The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced today that it had recently entered into a $115,000 civil penalty settlement agreement with Intevac, Inc., a California-based manufacturer of equipment used in the hard disk drive, solar, and photonics industries for several alleged violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)” (International Trade Law News).

Full Article: Don’t Forget About The Deemed Export Rule: BIS Imposes $115,000 Penalty for Deemed Export Violations

Export Constraints Agreed for Internet Snooping Tech

Posted: February 19, 2014

“Arms-exporting nations have agreed to extend the export control regime that limits the proliferation of military products to include internet surveillance technology” (SciDev.net).

Full article: Export Constraints Agreed for Internet Snooping Tech

Satellites, Electronics Next in U.S. Export Control Reform

Posted: February 10, 2014

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is making “great strides” in its drive to reform unwieldy export rules, and expects to unveil proposed changes covering exports of satellites, electronics and chemicals this year, a senior White House official said Tuesday” (Chicago Tribune).

Full article: Satellites, Electronics Next in U.S. Export Control Reform

Posted February 27, 2014

Space Export Control Update from BIS

State Dept. Blocks Access to MOOCs in Countries with Economic Sanctions

Posted: January 30, 2014

“Massive open online course providers have identified global expansion as one of the key goals of 2014, but a recent directive from the federal government has forced some of them to cut off access to students in certain countries” (Inside Higher Ed).

Full article: State Dept. Blocks Access to MOOCs in Countries with Economic Sanctions

District Judge Upholds Government’s Right to Search Electronics at Border

Posted: January 9, 2014

“The government’s right to search travelers’ electronic devices at the border was upheld in a ruling released by a federal judge on Tuesday, which dismissed a lawsuit challenging this policy” (The New York Times).

Full article: District Judge Upholds Government’s Right to Search Electronics at Border

Export Controls For Departmental Research Administrators

Posted: December 6, 2013

“When I was a scientist doing research in evolutionary biology, I never thought of myself as an exporter […] I thought of myself as a researcher” (Elizabeth Haney).

Full article: Export Controls for Departmental Research Administrators

Fact Sheet: Announcing the Revised U.S. Export Control System

Posted: October 18, 2013

“Today, the Administration reached the most significant milestone of the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative (ECR) with the nation’s first set of revised export control lists going into effect.  With these revisions in place, the Administration has successfully implemented the first parts of its new export control system in all four areas of the current export control system:  what we control, how we control it, and how we enforce and manage our controls” (whitehouse.gov).

Full article: Fact Sheet: Announcing the Revised U.S. Export Control System

Court Upholds Need for Export Permits for Risky Flu Research

Posted: October 1, 2013

“The researcher who created mammalian-transmissible strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus, raising fears they could cause a pandemic, has failed in an attempt to overcome government restrictions on the publication of his papers (see Nature‘s mutant flu special)” (nature.com).

Full article: Court Upholds Need for Export Permits for Risky Flu Research

Cold War-Era Rules on Military Exports Get an Overhaul

Posted: May 10, 2013

“Rob Smith’s Pennsylvania company, Acutec Precision Machining, makes inch-long fasteners that are used in the wings of airplanes. In 2006 he tried selling them abroad for the first time. The deal with an English company was worth a total of $897, and it could have landed him in jail. It turned out that unbeknownst to Smith, the buyer planned to sell the fasteners to the Romanian air force. By not reporting that to the U.S. government, Smith violated the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, which strictly controls sales of even the tiniest parts used in military equipment. Two years and $10,000 in legal fees later, Smith finally convinced officials that Acutec had meant no harm” (Bloomberg).

Full article: Cold War-Era Rules on Military Exports Get an Overhaul

Scientific Journals Adapt to New U.S. Trade Sanctions on Iran

Posted: May 8, 2013

“Scientific journals are being asked to help tighten U.S. trade sanctions on Iran. On 30 April, the Dutch publishing behemoth Elsevier of the Netherlands sent a note to its editorial network saying that all U.S. editors and U.S. reviewers must “avoid” handling manuscripts if they include an author employed by the government of Iran. Under a policy that went into effect in March — reflecting changes in a law passed by the U.S. Congress in December — even companies like Elsevier not based in the United States must prevent their U.S. personnel from interacting with the Iranian government” (Science Insider).

Full article: Scientific Journals Adapt to New U.S. Trade Sanctions on Iran

Can NASA Vet All Material in its Shuttered Tech Database

Posted: April 26, 2013

“When NASA recently took its large Technical Reports Server (NTRS) offline, following the arrest of a suspected spy,  it removed a database of aerospace information that had been shared with scientists and the general public for 19 years. And at least one analyst predicted it might stay shuttered” (GCN).

Full article: Can NASA Vet All Material in its Shuttered Tech Database

Fact Sheet: Implementation of Export Control Reform

Posted: March 13, 2013

“Today, the Administration announced two key steps to further the goals of President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative, which is a common sense approach to overhauling the nation’s export control system. President Obama signed an Executive Order today to update delegated presidential authorities over the administration of certain export and import controls under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, and yesterday the Administration notified Congress of the first in a series of changes to the U.S. Munitions List” (The White House-Office of the Press Secretary).

Full article: Fact Sheet: Implementation of Export Control Reform

Demystifying Department of Commerce Export Controls for the Biosafety Professional

Posted: March 12, 2013

“This article presents an overview of Department of Commerce regulations and commodities that relate to biological science research. Under almost all circumstances, license applications and commodity classification requests must be completed electronically through the Simplified Network Application Process Redesign (SNAP-R) using an assigned PIN” (ABSA).

Full article: Demystifying Department of Commerce Export Controls for the Biosafety Professional

Satellite Export Reform Moves Forward

Posted: February 12, 2013

“Satellite technology export controls took a long step forward to rationalization as Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law on January 3, the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which returns authority to the President to determine technology export control requirements for commercial satellites and their subsystems” (Satellite Today).

Full article: Satellite Export Reform Moves Forward

State Sends Proposed Export Reforms to Congress

Posted: February 12, 2013

“Following through on a promise to reform the United States’ policies limiting the export of items related to the defense industry, the State Department sent a pair of changes to Congress last week” (Federal Times).

Full article: State Sends Proposed Export Reforms to Congress

Iranians Denied U.S. Visas Hit by Political Crossfire

Posted: November 29, 2012

“Since Abbasi went home to Iran on vacation in December, the U.S. government has barred him from returning. The State Department twice denied him visas, saying it had reason to believe he would engage in espionage, sabotage or prohibited export of sensitive information. Alabama withdrew its offer. Because of U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran, the startup that licensed his contact lens concept can’t pay him” (Bloomberg).

Full article: Iranians Denied U.S. Visas Hit by Political Crossfire

Why the Professor Went to Prison

Posted: November 5, 2012

“Roth, an emeritus professor of electrical engineering, taught and researched at Tennessee for nearly 30 years. A former scientist at NASA, he holds 11 patents and has testified before Congress on nuclear fusion.

He’s also the only university professor or administrator ever prosecuted for violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA)” (Bloomberg).

Full article: Why the Professor Went to Prison

Military Secrets Leak from U.S. Universities with Rules Flouted

Posted: September 13, 2012

“For 15 days in late 2009, Internet users in 36 countries, including China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, viewed sensitive information about U.S. weapons technology that was supposed to be for American eyes only” (Bloomberg).

Full article: Military Secrets Leak from U.S. Universities with Rules Flouted

American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies Detected by FBI

Posted: September 13, 2012

“‘We have intelligence and cases indicating that U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,’ Frank Figliuzzi, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director for counterintelligence, said in a February interview in the bureau’s Washington headquarters” (Bloomberg).

Full article: American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies Detected by FBI

NASA Restrictions on Funding Activity with China

Posted: August 14, 2012

“In February 2012, NASA issued guidance documents addressing NASA implementation of the restrictions included in their FY 2011 continuing resolution and FY 2012 funding Appropriations Acts” (NASA).

Full article: NASA Restrictions on Funding Activity with China

Colleges Can Prevent and Disrupt Violent Extremists’ Pursuit or Targeting of Unmanned Aircraft Programs

Posted: July 20, 2012

“College programs in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are susceptible to potential penetration or attack plotting by violent extremists. Enhanced information and operational security practices can reduce the likelihood of a violent extremist infiltrating UAS programs or planning an attack against students and faculty” (NCTC).

Full article: Colleges Can Prevent and Disrupt Violent Extremists’ Pursuit or Targeting of Unmanned Aircraft Programs

Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery

Posted: February 19, 2014

“SAN FRANCISCO — When Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, travels to that country, he follows a routine that seems straight from a spy film.

[…] What might have once sounded like the behavior of a paranoid is now standard operating procedure for officials at American government agencies, research groups and companies that do business in China and Russia — like Google, the State Department and the Internet security giant McAfee. Digital espionage in these countries, security experts say, is a real and growing threat — whether in pursuit of confidential government information or corporate trade secrets” (The New York Times)

Full article: Traveling Light in a time of Digital Thievery