What is Export Control? Export control is an area of federal regulation that governs how certain information, technologies, and services are transmitted to, or shared with, certain parties inside or outside of the United States.
Governed by the Departments of State, Commerce and Treasury, the export regulations primarily restrict access to technologies (and technical data about those technologies) associated with weapons of mass destruction, other items on the US Munitions List (such as lasers, toxicological agents, encryption software), and dual use items. In academic research institutions like UCSF, greatest concerns usually involve technologies and information related to cutting-edge-technology not available outside of the United States. Publication restrictions and limitations on the participation of foreign nationals in research contracts can raise export control concerns.
What do I need to know? If you are traveling abroad, think about what kinds of information/technology you are carrying with you or sharing with colleagues and collaborators. Laptops and mobile devices are not usually subject to export controls if you are using it as part of your work, but if you have sophisticated or specialized software, you may require a license to travel with it. Commercially available items are usually not restricted, but you should always check first before physically shipping something outside of the country. In rare circumstances, if you employ or work with foreign nationals in the US, certain restrictions may apply.
I’m planning on traveling or collaborating with international colleagues in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan. What should I do? Although these six countries are of particular concern when it comes to export control, there are others. Please contact us to discuss your international travel plans to protect yourself from violating US export control laws. Think about the laptop you are bringing or data or other physical items from your lab.
What are the penalties for export control violations? The federal penalties for export control violations can vary but usually include monetary fines and prison sentences. Recently, a University of Tennessee professor was sentenced to prison for violating export control laws. The Office of Ethics & Compliance serves as a free and convenient resource to UCSF faculty, staff, students, and scholars to assist with understanding export control and other regulatory requirements.
For contact information, please visit our website at compliance.ucsf.edu.