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DHS’ Phyllis Schneck: New Multilateral Export Control Policy Conflicts with US Cyber Efforts

Phyllis Schneck
Phyllis Schneck

Some government and industry executives told a congressional hearing Tuesday they believe the U.S. government should review a multilateral arms control agreement’s policy that restricts cross-border sales of computer surveillance technology, FCW reported Wednesday.

Aisha Chowdhry writes the Wassenaar Arrangement was amended in 2013 to include intrusion software and Internet network monitoring products to a technology list for which signatory nations must apply export controls.

The Commerce Department proposed a rule last year to implement the amendment and encountered opposition from individuals and companies that submitted feedback on the department’s proposal.

Phyllis Schneck, the Department of Homeland Security‘s deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications, told House lawmakers Tuesday the policy could affect governmental efforts to address cyber threats.

Aliya Sternstein of Nextgov reported the multilateral exports policy requires companies to obtain a license before they can transmit technical data on intrusion platforms.

Schneck noted at the joint hearing of two House subcommittees that it could take weeks for technology firms to complete the licensing process, Sternstein reports.

Microsoft and Symantec executives have recommended that U.S. trade negotiators remand the restriction back to the 41-nation Wassenaar forum.

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