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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Software: recommendations for an export control policy

The control of computer technology exports, for both hardware and software, is being actively debated in government and industry circles. At the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Computer Network Critical Technology Expert Group (CNCTEG) was established with the support of the Electronics Industries Association and the Computer Business Equipment Manufacturers Association. The task of the CNCTEG was to assess critical technologies associated with computer networks, and to make recommendations regarding the control of the export of such technologies. The formulation of a reasonable export control policy for software has remained a particularly difficult matter that has frustrated both the U.S. government and industry. This article presents the CNCTEG's initial recommendations for the export control of software. This material is presented in the belief that open, active discussion among members of the information processing community will be helpful in advancing the development of a sound national policy regarding the export of software products and know-how.

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