On 9th September, Hogan Lovells published an article about recent draft guidance from the State Department on the export of hardware, software and technology with surveillance capabilities and/or parts or know-how. It says that this guidance is consistent with the Trump Administration’s recent focus on the use of surveillance by certain governments against civilian populations in trouble spots around the world. While it is not mandatory for export control and sanctions compliance purposes, but it is relevant for companies to consider in building and enhancing their compliance programmes. The draft guidance focuses on the export of items that “can be misused to violate or abuse human rights when exported to government end-users or private end-users that have close relationships with the government”. Notably, the guidance does not apply to just makers of items designed for surveillance, such as cameras or listening devices, but has much broader implications. Comments on the draft guidance may be submitted by 4th October. The article says that the draft guidance can be understood as a set of “best practices” that companies operating in this space should use to benchmark their own policies and procedures against the US Government’s expectations for exporters of sensitive technologies that are susceptible to misuse in the wrong hands, and as a roadmap for steps that companies can take to mitigate these risks, and it takes a broad approach to what is considered appropriate “due diligence” that exporters should undertake.
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