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Export Control Information

Jennifer Douris O'Bryan

U.S. Releases Narrow Export Control on Artificial Intelligence Software

On 6 January 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security released an interim final rule to control software specially designed to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery. Though this export control goes into effect immediately through 0Y521 series procedure, which establishes a temporary control on the item to all destinations except Canada, in order for the control to stay in place beyond one year the U.S. must reclassify and establish the control on the Commerce Control List (CCL) under a specific classification entry.

The new export control narrowly applies to a graphical user interface that enables the user to identify objects. Artificial intelligence software that is capable of identifying “positive and negative samples of an object of interest” from geospatial imagery is a particularly useful tool for gathering military intelligence. Companies eyeing commercial markets utilizing similar AI technology should review this new control carefully to ensure that it will not impact current or future product lines. Comment period for this interim final rule closed 6 March 2020.

Read the SPIE comment to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

U.S. Government Seeks Information On How to Control Emerging Technology

Quantum, AI, Navigation, and Biotechnology are among the listed technologies

On 19 November 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce started accepting comments on how to control certain technologies for export. This request stems from the concern that some technologies, which are still considered emerging, have not been evaluated for their national security risk, and therefore are currently not controlled through regulation.

Many of these emerging technologies are critical to the optics and photonics community and any changes to their classification for export control could have a broad impact, so it is vital that the industry help shape these decisions.

The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) released in the Federal Register for public inspection 16 November, lists the 14 technology areas that the U.S. government is evaluating, and requested comment on “criteria for defining and identifying emerging technologies.” The ANPRM also seeks assistance in identifying specific emerging technologies that are essential to the national security within these areas. For the community of stakeholders working in the area of technologies listed, engagement will be necessary to ensure that the execution of the regulatory process does not hamper growth in many significant research fields.

The comment period closed 10 January.

Read the SPIE comment to the ANPRM Federal Register.

Read the SPIE news article to learn more.

Optic and Photonic Export Control Working Groups

SPIE, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Committee (SITAC), has formed working groups comprised of industry and research university representatives that will assist in identifying and developing proposals related to improving the U.S. export control system in the areas of Detectors and Cameras, Lasers, and Lenses and Optics.

 Detectors & Cameras    Lasers  Lenses & Optics
  • Uncooled
  • Cooled
  • SWIR
  • Crycoolers
  • ROICs
  • Image Intensifiers
  • Fiber
  • Diode
  • High Powered

If you are interested in joining one or more of these groups, or would like to submit a topic for discussion at a future meeting, please contact SPIE Government Affairs Director Jennifer O'Bryan.

SPIE Webinar: 8 November 2016

ITAR Changes that will Impact the Optics and Photonics Community

Jennifer O'Bryan, SPIE Director of Government Affairs and Vice Chair of SITAC, moderated a panel who reviewed changes to Category XII of the USML impacting ITAR regulations for both industry and research universities. 

The Panelists included Bureau of Industry and Security staff from the U.S. Department of Commerce:

  • Matthew Borman, Deputy Assistant Secretary
  • Chris Costanzo, Deputy Director, Sensors and Aviation Division
  • Steve Emme, Senior Policy Advisor
  • John Varesi, Sensors and Aviation Division

Watch the Recording

Changes to Category XII of the U.S. Munitions List

12 Oct 2016: The final export rules for U.S. Munitions List (USML) Category XII and the corresponding Commerce Control List (CCL) Category VI revisions were released 12 October 2016. These rules will impact International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for both industry and research universities.

These changes will guide export controls for sensitive military and dual-use optic and photonic technologies.

Press and News Releases

News Release 10/11/18: New U.S. Law Addresses Control of Emerging Technologies
Press Release 8/1/17: Optics and photonics recognized by Senate Committee in context of export controls
Press Release 10/11/16: Final Export Control rules released today by U.S. government
Press Release 2/19/16: Interim proposed ITAR rule released today by U.S. government
Press Release 6/18/15: Comment deadline looms on regulation changes proposed for U.S. export controls on photonics technologies
Press Release 5/5/15: Comments needed now from photonics industry on revisions of U.S. export rules

Comments, question, need more information?

Contact Jennifer O'Bryan, SPIE Government Affairs Director