Remember: you can't spell "military" without "itar"!
It's time for more "Wisdom from Wally"!
"Hey Wally, can I ask you something"?, says Pasquale.
"You already did, next time don't ask", comes the reply.
"OK, I am having some trouble emailing some data to someone in Israel. And now the server's down."
"Great Scott, you'd better go find a lawyer, if you're about to tell me what I think you are, you're you might be in a Hell of a pickle! Sounds like the server is down for a good reason..."
"A lawyer, why do I need that? Does the legal department have the correct email address for the Israel Ministry of Defense? All I wanted to do was show them data on that new 100 Watt gallium nitride power amp. They contacted me, and they treated me real swell. You're just jealous, and you should dress better. Don't you like my new ascot? I just love lilac!"
"Tarnation, I'm not jealous of someone that's going to jail! Don't you know that data is ITAR restricted? Then again, a guy like you might enjoy your time at Leavenworth".
"ITAR, what's that? I'm so confused. I thought Israel was supposed to be the good guys!"
What does ITAR mean?
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) need to be understood if you work for any defense contractor, or if you are a supplier to a defense contractor. Directorate of Defense Trade Controls is the government agency that enforces ITAR. Here's their web site, you should check it out. Ignorance is no defense!
Here's quote from United States Law:
"It is unlawful to export or attempt to export from the United States any defense article or technical data, or furnish and defense service for which a license of written approval is required by this subchapter without first obtaining the required license or written approval from the Office of Defense Trade Controls...
Then it goes on to mention fines, prison terms, etc.
Basically, for any program that was executed using government funding, it's a safe bet that the data is subject to ITAR control. For example, DARPA programs are all subject to ITAR, which explains why you can't find much information about them on their web site.
By the way, the only two countries that receive any special status are the United Kingdom and Australia, and you can't just send them info either, you have to ask permission but presumably it is a little easier to obtain.
US person versus US citizen
ITAR material can be shared with "US persons". This includes non-citizens that are legal permanent residents, so-called green-card holders.
Import and export controls
How about if you want to order a widget for a defense contract, perhaps a bandpass filter, and your local lobby lizard recommends that you try his favorite British supplier because they'll save the program a pile of money. Nothing wrong with emailing them the specification for the part, right?
Wrong!!! You need to obtain an export license, just to send them the specification (which falls under the category of "data")! Even when the specification is unclassified, you'll need to obtain permission from Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. The export license is the responsibility of the U.S. company that needs to send the spec overseas. This can easily take six months, a big consideration if you are in a hurry.
An import license is needed for your foreign supplier to ship the parts to you. This is an easier problem to solve, because usually the supplier knows what to do and can take care of this for you.
Better safe than sorry in the microwave business. Always ask "is this ITAR restricted?" any time you email information. We're not in the business of offering free legal advice, we're just offering you a warning that you should be aware of ITAR.
ITAR restricted conferences
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