[amsat-bb] Re: Understanding ITAR
rwmcgwier at gmail.com
Mon Oct 5 04:14:42 PDT 2009
I want everyone seeing this to read a book. Little Brother by Cory
Doctorow is a book aimed at late teens to young adults. This is
irrelevant. It is a must read for anyone who doesn't understand the
nature of the problems. It is a DEVASTATING treatment of several
current event topics, including anti-terrorism approaches, internet
privacy, and more.
I find one of the best sections of the book to be its treatment of
"false positives". The exact same mathematics applies to this ITAR
export prevention problem. The cost of dealing with ITAR is so high in
comparison to catching the real events that it should be the poster
child for stupidity of the entire approach to security. It has, in my
opinion, NOT been worth the cost and I believe in safeguarding those
things which are in the interests of U.S. security. I am not a believer
in stupidity. I do not subscribe to civil disobedience on this topic
because of the cost to my family and friends and it has cost me the
ability to talk to my friends for YEARS. U.S. "enemies" have
developed on their own or done effective espionage to get all of the
technology they need. This has been a truly tragic episode for U.S.
space corporations and a great boon to those nations who aspire to be
space faring nations rather than be trapped by we and our "friends" to
the earth's surface.
A spacecraft, or anything associated with the launch of spacecraft,
including ground systems (including amateur radio equipment) is DEFINED
to be an ITAR covered item. No one says it is a munition as in a gun.
It is DEFINED to be an ITAR covered item. Discussion of it with foreign
nationals by U.S. citizens is a "deemed export" and requires an export
license AND THEN, the most insidious of all, a technology assistance
agreement. The technology assistance agreement in most cases must
contain language that the foreign entity (person, group, etc.) must
agree to be bound by U.S. law even if they are NEVER enter U.S. I
believe now that AMSAT-NA is going to be allowed to talk to our
friends. I believe in the end it will not be an onerous set of
restrictions. But I am SO glad I am not attempting to sell a satellite
or ground equipment as a U.S. person (individual, corporation, green
card holder) to a foreign national. The pucker factor is so high
because the cost of a mistake is punitive, that you simply cannot afford
casual conversations much less technical discussions without an army of
lawyers and minders present.
I wish I could find the words to impart the depth of my despair on what
this has meant to everyone involved in space in the U.S. from lowly
amateur radio operators trying to build satellites to major U.S.
corporations. It has done NOTHING effective in my opinion but make lots
of lawyers wealthier and insure the long term survival of bureaucrats.
(Co)Author: DttSP, Quiktrak, PowerSDR, GnuRadio
Member: ARRL, AMSAT, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
NJQRP, QRP ARCI, QCWA, FRC.
"You don't need to see the whole staircase, just
take the first step.", MLK.
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