For reasons of national security and foreign policy, the United States federal government has enacted export control laws that regulate the distribution of specific technology, information and services to certain foreign countries AND to certain foreign nationals living in the U.S.

Under U.S. export control regulations, the release of technology or technical data to a foreign national in the U.S. is deemed to be an export to the individual's home country, even though the release occurs entirely within the United States.  This concept is referred to as a "deemed export."  The rationale behind this rule is that a release of technology or technical data to a foreign national is permanent and the individual could apply the knowledge upon return to his/her country.

Any activity that might lead to information or technology being passed to a foreign national must be monitored closely.  In some cases, a U.S. government export license is required prior to the release of technology or technical data to a foreign national.  The license requirement is dependent on two factors: (1) the nature of technology; and (2) the foreign national’s home country.

Export controls laws are applicable to U.S. persons and are relevant to the university community, especially in respect to travel and research conducted by individuals alone and/or in affiliation with the university.  In recent years, penalties have been enhanced to impact not only institutions, but also individuals.  Enforcement of U.S. export control regulations has included fines up of the $1,000,000 and 20 years imprisonment, in the most egregious cases, for individuals involved in these activities.  Thus, universities have implemented export control programs to educate their employees and to facilitate the export control license application process when necessary and appropriate.  See Buffalo State's Export Control Compliance Policy

Exclusions from Export Controls - Publicly Available Technology and Software:

Generally, technology or software that is “publicly available” is not subject to U.S. export controls.  This includes technology or software that:

  • Is already published or will be published (Public Domain Exclusion);
  • Arises during or results from “fundamental research” (Fundament Research Exclusion); or
  • Is educational as defined in the regulations (Education Exclusion).

It is important to note that these exclusions may not apply to technology or software related to defense/military/space applications or certain encryption software.

For more information, see Exclusions