Export control laws regulate how certain US-made technologies, software, or data can be sent overseas. Who must follow the export control regulations depends on which U.S. government agency oversees the technology or software.
The United States government, through the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), controls the export of various products and services. One of the rules control "software or technology specially designed for the processing (including creating, storing, transmitting, and displaying), management, manipulation, or protection of data or information." Often this is used to refer to cryptography (the art of coding and decoding information). This broad restriction, along with several other rules related to encryption, is contained in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), administered by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security.
These rules are collectively known as "export controls." This means that companies who make software incorporating cryptography for advancing research or military use, among other things, often need to register their products with the government appropriately. The rules are occasionally placed into a broader context as "dual-use control classification" - information that also has value to private or commercial usage.
Import control laws
U.K. law (and many other U.K. laws relating to cryptography) is based on the European Union's Electronic Signature Regulations, 2007/2004. These laws are intended to discourage the importation of cryptography from other nations. It also helps to protect international business interests by allowing governments to prohibit the importation of private-sector encryption technologies that could jeopardize legitimate business interests and allow for unfair competition.
Patents have been one of the most critical aspects of intellectual property for a long time. In the U.S., the process is overseen by a complex legal system, and companies enlist attorneys' help to litigate patent infringement issues.
Some cryptography law deals with the use of cryptography tools that are patented. This type of law protects inventors and gives them exclusive rights to their intellectual property for a fixed amount of time, typically 18 to 20 years. These laws protect intellectual property, allowing different forms of encryption, such as technologies for securing electronic financial transactions, keeping E-mail communications private, or authenticating websites.
Also, this often goes hand in hand with import laws designed to protect intellectual property from illegal import and use in another country without the inventor's permission.
Search and Seizure
These are the criminal constitutional issues surrounding the search and seizure of encrypted files and revealing encryption keys to allow investigators to compile a case against that individual.
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