Export Control Compliance

The Export Control Compliance Program at WVSOM is designed to support WVSOM faculty, staff, students and other affiliates with ensuring compliance with Federal export control laws and regulations.  These include the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Office of Foreign Assests Controls (OFAC).  These laws apply to both work internationally ("exports") and work with international collaborators within the United States ("deemed exports"). 

It is important to understand that export control laws may apply to any shipment, transmission or transfer of both physical items, information, or technology (e.g. software) outside of the United States.  Depending on the type of these items or technology, the U.S. Government may require an export license prior to sharing the item or information with other countries or foreign nationals within the U.S. 

Though WVSOM is primarily an educational institution and many of its activities fall under a Fundamental Research Exclusion to licensing requirements, WVSOM is committed to ensuring compliance with the Federal Export Control Laws.  The following areas provide more information on how to ensure individual compliance with Federal Export Laws, and WVSOM's policies and procedures related to such activities.

WVSOM Export Control Policy and Procedure

Generally, WVSOM activities are excluded from Export Control Laws through a Fundamental Research Exclusion (see below).  However, to ensure this is the case, all WVSOM personnel (staff and students) are required to submit an International Collaboration form to the Export Control office anytime they:

  • plan on traveling internationally for school purposes,
  • plan on traveling for personal reasons (e.g. vacation) with school property or resources (e.g. your school laptop or email), or
  • plan on collaborating with a foreign national (even within the United States).

This form will be reviewed and further guidance provided.  Please ensure this form is submitted at least 30 days in advance, and if you suspect you need to apply for an export license, at least 90 days in advance.  Additionally, when traveling with electronic devices, certain forms will be required (see below).

Federal Regulations

The Export Control Laws are spread throughout various Federal Agencies.  The main three are:

  • Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC), which include sanctioning programs on countries and foreign individuals
  • Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which governs the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  The EAR regulate mainly civilian dual-use items, software and technology.
  • Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which governs the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  The ITAR regulate mainly military or defense articles, including technical data.

There are other departments that oversee the execution of regulations related to Export, but the three listed above are the most commonly encountered applicable regulations related to Institutions of Higher Education.

Fundamental Research Exclusion

Sharing information while abroad, or with foreign nationals within the US, may be excluded from export control laws if it is covered by a "Fundamental Research" exclusion.  Fundamental research is basic or applied scientific or engineering research, the results of which are normally published and shared broadly within the scientific community.  This is in contrast to proprietary research by (or funded by) an industry.  A key difference is that the industry or sponsor restricts the publication or dissemination of the results.  Fundamental research is an important component of academic freedom and most of the research conducted at WVSOM falls within the Fundamental Research Exclusion related to Export Control Laws.  No license is needed to share the results of Fundamental Research, though the sharing of goods/items made through such research IS regulated by Export Control Laws.

The Fundamental Research Exclusion is not valid if the work is conducted through an agreement that:

  • forbids the participation of foreign nationals,
  • provides the sponsor the right to approve/disapprove publications prior to submission, or
  • restricts participation in research or access or disclosure of the results.

Make sure you know what you have agreed to when you accept an agreement, written or otherwise.  The WVSOM Sponsored Programs group may help you navigate such agreements.

Traveling with electronic devices for work purposes

When you leave the United States, you should understand your obligations under export control regulations.  If you travel with electronic devices, access data remotely, or utilize encryption software, your activitites may be subject to export control laws.  Keep in mind that U.S. Customs officials are authorized to review the contents of computers, laptops, or tablets without probable cause.  Thus, you should ensure you know what you have on the electronic device.  

Electronic devices exported for work purposes are often able to be temporarily exported under a "Temporary exports-Tools of the Trade" (TMP) exception.  This exception is allowable if:

  • The item(s) are being used for professional purposes,
  • The item(s) will be returned to the US within 12 months,
  • The item(s) are kept under the individual's "effective control" while abroad,
  • Appropriate security precautions are used to prevent unauthorized release of technology, and
  • The individual does NOT travel to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, the Sudan, Syria, or the Crimean Region of the Ukraine.

WVSOM may permit you to borrow a laptop that the Information Technology Department has prepared for temporary export.  When you have completed the International Collaboration form, you may also be asked to complete a TMP exception and borrow a WVSOM laptop.

Traveling with electronic devices for non-work purposes

When you leave the United States, you should understand your obligations under export control regulations.  If you travel with electronic devices, access data remotely, or utilize encryption software, your activities may be subject to export control laws.  Keep in mind that U.S. Customs officials are authorized to review the contents of computers, laptops, or tablets without probable cause.  Thus, you should ensure you know what you have on the electronic device.

Personal electronic devices (and other items) exported for personal use are often able to be temporarily exported under a "baggage license" (BAG) exception.  This exception is allowable if:

  • The item(s) are being used for personal purposes,
  • The item(s) will be returned to the US,
  • The item(s) will not be shipped as unaccompanied baggage,
  • The item(s) are kept under the individual's "effective control" while abroad,
  • Appropriate security precautions are used to prevent unauthorized release of technology, and
  • The individual does NOT travel to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, the Sudan, Syria, or the Crimean Region of the Ukraine.

It is recommended you complete and carry with you a BAG form when traveling internationally.

WVSOM loaner laptop

WVSOM may provide a loaner laptop for international travel. This computer has a standard image and software. It has intentionally not been encrypted. To adhere to WVSOM institutional policy R-07 regarding compliance for US export control laws and regulations no personally identifiable information (PII), HIPAA, or FERPA data should be stored on this device. As part of the international travel the individual receiving this loaner laptop should have already consulted with the WVSOM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). The recipient of this loaner device will follow the protocol below:

  • No alterations will be made to the hardware or software related to this device.
  • The device is provided without encryption technology and should not be encrypted.
  • During international travel, the device should NEVER be out of your physical custody.
  • Remove all sensitive data (PII, HIPAA, FERPA) on all devices while traveling (WVSOM loaner laptop, smartphones, mobile devices).
  • While the WVSOM loaner laptop is not encrypted, smartphones, mobile devices, USB and external drives should be encrypted (if allowed by your destination country) and should be password, passcode and/or biometric protected (fingerprint or facial recognition).
  • All electronic devices, WVSOM loaner laptop and personal, should remain with you at ALL times and should be transported in carry-on luggage.
  • WVSOM loaner laptops are provisioned with geolocation and can be remotely wiped if lost or stolen. If the laptop is lost or stolen, the traveler is to contact the WVSOM Information Technology Department IMMEDIATELY at 304-647-6246. Steps will then be taken to locate and wipe the device.
  • Upon return the WVSOM loaner laptop will be fully inspected for compromise and sanitized.

Technology Security Precautions Best Practices

  • Use secure connections, such as a VPN, when accessing IT networks
  • Use password systems on the electronic device
  • Use personal firewalls on electronic devices
  • Do not access email through your cell phone or tablet
  • Do not download email to the local device, rather only access email through the web.
  • Remove all sensitive data (PII, HIPAA, FERPA) on all devices while traveling (WVSOM loaner laptop, smartphones, mobile devices).
  • Remove all data that is not essential while traveling and that is export restricted.
  • All electronic devices, WVSOM loaner laptop and personal, should remain with you at ALL times and should be transported in carry-on luggage.
  • Do not use public battery USB-based charging stations. These stations can copy data from your device and install malicious malware code on to the device. Only use chargers that you have brought from the United States and you are confident are safe.

Embargoed Countries

The Office of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the Treasury Department, maintains a list of embargoed countries and persons on sanctions lists.  As part of knowing you who are working with, and whether any sanctions exists related to your country of travel, you can access OFAC's lists at the link below.

Sanctions Programs and Country Information

Special considerations if traveling to China or Russia

  • Travelers from the United States to Russia and China are targets for cyber-attack and surveillance. Particularly those in institutional administration, faculty participating in political and/or religious activism and those fluent in the local language.
  • If the traveler has need for internet access, best practice is to purchase a pre-paid phone and inexpensive laptop.
  • While in these countries, assume ALL your communications are being intercepted (voice calls, text messages, HTTPS internet, and connections via VPN service)
  • WVSOM integrated laptop microphones and cameras will be intentionally disconnected. If traveling with a personnel laptop, the same is recommended.
  • Please be sure to disable all file sharing.
  • When not in use, disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and infrared.
  • Setup a temporary email account for your travels with services like Google Gmail. Do not use this account to receive or send any sensitive or proprietary information. This account should be removed once you return from international travel.
  • Censorship circumvention tools such as Tor should be considered compromised. Use of these tools in these countries can be monitored. If used, the traveler may be expelled or punished by the country.
  • Discarded items (i.e. USB drives, paper documentation, CD/DVDs) can be retrieved from trash for analysis.
  • USB drives, CD/DVDs, external drives, email attachments, shortened URLs, QR codes are to be considered hostile. DO NOT insert removable media, open attachments, click links, or scan QR codes on the loaner computer within China or Russia. DO NOT bring these devices back to the United States when returning.
  • RFID-enabled should be carried in an RF-shielded sleeve to prevent invasive scanning.
  • Remember that powered off cell phones can still be used for geolocation and monitoring.

Forms

Contacts

export@osteo.wvsom.edu

Peter Feltman, MS
Research Integrity and Compliance Administrator

(304) 647-6284

Jandy Hanna, PhD, MSB
Associate Dean, Research and Sponsored Programs
Export Control Manager
(304) 647-6366