ITAR is an acronym for the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It’s a section of US government regulations that are enacted as part of the Export Control Act of 1994. It forbids both US individuals and companies from exporting encryption software or utilities that can’t be broken via cryptoanalysis. It does not prevent the sale of them within the country, nor does it affect their use, nationally or internationally.
Technipages Explains ITAR
Experts have criticised ITAR for multiple reasons, but most importantly for its lack of benefit to anyone – various types of restricted and non-restricted algorithms are already available on the Internet and outside of the US, so ITAR really doesn’t restrict much of anything, except that it stops US companies from actively competing in the lucrative international market that is secure business communications.
Other countries do not have or enforce this type of restriction, so it’s just the US that is disadvantaged by it. Due to the international nature of business communications and the need for security in the field, US companies and individuals are at a disadvantage. ITAR has been in effect since 1994 – in the decades since then, a lot has changed in the security market, and while the original intention of protecting US security assets and military encoding techniques was certainly commendable, the fact that formerly secret encryption methodologies are no longer secret renders it obsolete and restricts the ability of US citizens to compete in the industry the way other country’s citizens can.
Common Uses of ITAR
- ITAR is part of the Export Control Act of 1994.
- Because of ITAR, US companies are at a disadvantage in the international secure comms market.
- ITAR restricts the export of encryption software or utilities that can’t be broken via cryptoanalysis.
Common Misuses of ITAR
- ITAR restricts the use of encryption software within the US.