The Baby and the Bathwater: The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Intrusion and Surveillance Software Export Licensing Proposal

If you are not aware, please take note that the July 20, 2015 deadline is fast approaching for comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) proposed rule on the export control of certain intrusion and surveillance related software.  The proposed rule, which addresses changes to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR), is designed to align with agreements made in the December 2013 Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, a multilateral export control regime with 41 participating states committed to promoting transparency and responsibility in cross-border transfers of arms and dual-use goods and technologies.  The wide-reaching rule proposes adding new controls in Category 4 of the EAR’s Commerce Control List (CCL) intended to address “intrusion software” used by hackers and other cybercriminals.  The difficulty is that, in the way the proposed rule is worded (and explained), it also subjects network penetration testing products, the type that use “intrusion software” to identify cyber-vulnerabilities, to the same export licensing requirements.  That is to say, the manner in which the controlled intrusion software would be defined includes the good as well as the bad, and – could have a chilling effect on beneficial research and development of defensive software. Continue Reading

Implementation Day: Do the Rules Let You Play in the New Ballgame for Business in Iran?

After a twelve-year standoff that saw the United States and Europe ratchet up sanctions pressure on Iran, a diplomatic breakthrough has been reached. But robust trade between Iran and the West will not arise immediately, since the end of sanctions is a long way away. Continue Reading

A Break From the Past: Historic Deal with Iran Marks A New Day in U.S.-Iran Relations

Today, President Obama announced a landmark agreement with Iran designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting sanctions that have retarded the country’s development for the decades since the revolution. The agreement is the result of 20 tough months of negotiations among Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the United States, the UK, China, France, Russia, and the EU). As far as we are aware, this is the first time in over forty years that nonproliferation diplomacy has resulted in an enforceable agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. The last four entrants to the nuclear club (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) were not likewise persuaded to cease their development of nuclear weapons. Their nuclear detonation tests in 1974, 1979, 1998, and 2006 respectively signaled the end of negotiations in each case. Continue Reading

Government Contracting Abroad: Beware Compliance Risks

On June 16, 2015, IAP Worldwide Services Inc., a private defense and government contracting company, agreed to pay $7.1 million to settle criminal charges of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) related to bribing Kuwaiti government officials to secure a Kuwaiti government contract.  On the same day, James Michael Rama, IAP’s Former Vice President of Special Projects and Programs also pleaded guilty to FCPA charges.  For U.S. government contractors, the opportunities to provide services and expertise to foreign governments are lucrative, but this enforcement action also highlights the risks associated with obtaining such contracts. Continue Reading

New EU Rules on Disclosure of Ultimate Beneficial Owners

On June 5, new EU’s anti-money laundering (AML) rules, namely the Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (“4AMLD”) and a new Regulation on the information accompanying transfer of funds were published in the Official Journal of the European Union.  Together, this legislation represents the revised EU framework on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. Member States have until June 26, 2017 to transpose the requirements of the 4AMLD into national law.  Continue Reading

America Turns A Page: Cuba Removed From U.S. List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

The United States officially removed Cuba from its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism on May 29, 2015, according to an announcement by the U.S. State Department via Twitter. The change takes effect immediately, according to the accompanying press release from the State Department. Cuba had been listed since 1982. Continue Reading

A Carriage of Justice: Obama to Remove Cuba from Terrorist Sponsor List

In a move that may honestly mean more to America than to Cuba, the White House has announced that President Obama will remove Cuba from the U.S. list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” As we reported here, the U.S. Department of State has listed Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism pursuant to the Export Administration Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act since 1982. Reviewing Cuba’s place on the list was one of the central proposals of President Obama’s December 17, 2014 announcement of a new policy toward Cuba. On that day, the President directed Secretary of State John Kerry to review the designation of Cuba under the current facts and the applicable laws. Mr. Obama requested Secretary Kerry’s report within six months, setting up June 17 as the date for a massive trade-geek “over-under” betting pool. Knowing Secretary Kerry to be a classic gunner (law school slang for the person who is always first to raise a hand with the right answer) our money was on the under. So we have cashed in on yesterday’s announcement. All of you who took the over, pay up. Continue Reading

UPDATE: Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Western powers have agreed to agree again. On April 2, 2015, the so-called P5+1 (the United States, the UK, China, France, and Russia) along with the EU, have joined Iran in announcing that they have reached a set of broad “parameters” to be negotiated in detail between now and June 30, 2015, regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Continue Reading

U.S. Authorizes Targeted Sanctions Against Overseas Cyber Threats

Cyber threats are one of the U.S.’s top security threats.  In just the past year, there has been a significant increase in the frequency, scale and sophistication of cyber intrusions and attacks – many of them originating overseas – which have targeted U.S. businesses.  On April 1, 2015, the President announced a new tool to combat the most significant cyber threats to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.   Continue Reading

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Import From Cuba

One aspect of the dramatic shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba that has not been widely reported is a relaxation of the old rule prohibiting imports of most Cuban goods and services. Under the new rules, if your Cuban supplier is one of a small but vibrant class of entrepreneurs on the island, there is now a long wish list of goods and services you may import from Cuba. Continue Reading

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