The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) appreciates the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce taking the time to solicit public comments on the criteria for identifying emerging technologies that are essential to U.S. national security through an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on the review of controls for certain emerging technologies (Docket No. 180712626-8840-01 (RIN 0694-AH61)). We hope this initial opportunity for public input helps BIS to better understand how the proposal will impact the numerous companies and institutions in the commercial and academic sectors developing emerging technologies, as well as the related technical communities with a vested interest in the impacts of emerging technologies on security and human rights. Further, we anticipate BIS benefiting greatly from additional, more in-depth responses to a proposed rule from a broader range of interested parties on specific regulatory wording of an emerging technologies control regime.
CDT is active in evaluating the beneficial and detrimental impacts resulting from the myriad of uses of emerging technologies domestically and abroad, and we believe that the digital information technologies on the ANPRM’s emerging technologies list should remain unencumbered for the free exchange and cross-pollination of advancements across borders. The United States has been a key incubator of technological innovation for decades as evidenced by the sheer number of technologies created and advanced by its domestic industry-leading companies and world-class academic institutions. Our academic and corporate research and development centers are of the highest caliber and benefit from easy flow of data, information, and ideas about emerging technologies both within the United States and beyond, often with diverse research teams including individuals that are not US citizens or permanent residents (implicating “deemed exports”). Many of these emerging technologies have nascent or immediate consumer benefits. Unreasonably restricting these technologies for export to limit their proliferation in foreign countries at the expense of benefits to those outside of the U.S. national security sphere must be carefully considered.
Fostering an environment that creates and nourishes industry-leading companies and world-class academic institutions is key to the U.S. remaining competitive in specific areas and maintaining its general technological lead. The ability to exchange technologies, ideas, and information across borders is crucial to such an environment.
The digital information technologies on the ANPRM emerging technologies list should remain unencumbered for the free exchange and cross-pollination of advancements across borders. Overextending export controls will lead to the United States being isolated in the international community and overtaken in many important markets by nations without such controls. This will reduce the United States’ ability to engage in cutting-edge academic and industrial research and development.