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BIS Published Final Rule on AI Geospatial Imagery Export Limitations

Date: January 14, 2020

Last week, The Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) limiting the export of artificial intelligence related to geospatial imagery. Under the IFR, an export license requirement will be imposed on all U.S. exports of “software designed to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery,” except to Canada. The IFR does not explicitly refer to automated vehicle technology, but MEMA believes that member companies could be impacted by these export controls. MEMA urges companies to internally review the rule with technical and legal teams to determine potential impact. 

Press reports indicate that Matthew Borman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, has said that BIS does not intend for the export controls to cover automated vehicles. BIS is accepting public comments by March 6, 2020. MEMA will prepare and submit comments to BIS. To do this, MEMA requests feedback and information from member companies on how the IFR as written will impact them.

This is the first of multiple export controls on emerging technologies related to artificial intelligence. Future rules could include semi-conductors, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and quantum computing. In addition to emerging technologies, BIS is required by statute to publish a rule on foundational technologies. That proposal is expected this month.

For more information on the BIS’s approach to “emerging technologies,” please contact Bill Frymoyer.

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