Export Compliance: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kind of document markings (e.g., the footer on this message) is considered necessary? Some of our viewgraphs only say "ITAR Restricted," is that sufficient?

"This communication [may] contain(s) information subject to United States export control regulation under either the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 121, of the United States Department of State, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), 15 CFR Part 774, of the United States Department of Commerce, or both. Export of this information to non-US persons, entities, or countries is subject to prior license or exemption by the applicable agency."

Perhaps the viewgraphs can have "U.S. EXPORT (ITAR/EAR) CONTROLLED." While, at the start of presentations, in handouts, etc. the above statement can be prominently inserted or read.

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Q: What level of security is appropriate on our files, computer databases and web pages?

A: Ordinary care in accordance with export control regulations, SAO standards and generally accepted scientific research practices ought to be sufficient. The regulations prescribe no level of security. However, controlled materials should be maintained securely as a best practice.

Where materials are controlled subject to these regulations, no affirmative act or omission should allow them to fall ordinarily into the control of unauthorized persons, entities, or countries.

Ordinarily, whatever reasonable actions or procedures are necessary to meet regulatory obligations is the appropriate level of security for files, databases and web pages.

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Q: What defines data that is in the public domain and therefore sharable?

A: There is no clearly reliable bright-line definition of information in the public domain for the purposes of the export control regulations. The better approach to this issue is to be prepared to justify a claim that information is in the public domain and therefore sharable.

Where information has been published or made available on a publicly accessible website, is ordinarily communicated to students in the course of instruction, is general and theoretical as opposed to specific and technical, etc., there is a more persuasive case that it is in the public domain.

HOWEVER, there are notorious cases where the communication of information that is generally accepted as in the public domain is nevertheless held subject to export control regulation due to the party/end-user to whom it is to be communicated.

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Q: We have heard that SAO might be classifiable as an educational institution of the purposes of ITAR and therefore be relieved from some of the strictures of the process. Has that happened?

A: SAO conducts business as a Non-Profit organization. There are no known initiatives to change our classification to that of an educational institution for the purposes of the export control regulations.

However, there really does not appear to be any appreciable relief from the strictures of these processes whatever the operational classification.

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Q: What are the ITAR/EAR general restrictions on the use of e-mail and other communications?

A: Any transfer of information covered by the U. S. Munitions List (USML) or the Commerce Control List (CCL) to any person, either within or outside the U. S., with knowledge or intent that the information will be transferred outside of the U. S., is restricted and requires a license. The following are not restricted:

  • Publicly available technical data and software via literature, library, patent, or seminar
  • Fundamental basic and applied research where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community without non-proprietary restrictions on publication of the information
  • Education information taught in catalog courses
  • Patent application information not subject to 37 CFR Part 5 secrecy orders
  • Basic marketing information on function, purpose, or general system descriptions that the producer would make available to its closest competitors at no more than the cost of reproduction.

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Q: Is there any cutoff date for ITAR/EAR applicability?

A: Our obligation under ITAR/EAR arose whenever the relevant implementing regulations were first promulgated. Consequently, retrospective applicability goes back farther than a decade. However, there is a standard records retention requirement of five (5) years from the expiration of a State Department (ITAR) license, or other governmental approval, in effect.

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If you have further questions, please contact the Export Compliance Officer.

Updated 4/7/2008

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