At the December 3-4, 2013 Plenary meeting of the signatories to the The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (the “Wassenaar Arrangement), the parties agree to additions to the List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.

The newly added export controls relate to surveillance technology.  The Public Statement relating to the 2013 Plenary Meeting describes the changes as follows:

In 2013, new export controls were agreed in a number of areas including surveillance and law enforcement/intelligence gathering tools and Internet Protocol (IP) network surveillance systems or equipment, which, under certain conditions,may be detrimental to international and regional security and stability. Participating States also further clarified existing controls in respect of inertial measurement equipment or systems and relaxed some controls such as for instrumentation tape recorders and digital computers.

The agreed changes follow a few tough years of cyber-security concerns:

1) Autocratic regimes (such as the Assad regime in Syria) monitoring the communications of dissenting citizens; and

2) Government surveillance of communications of foreign leaders (that is Wassenaar signatories intercepting/listening to communications of each other).

The additions limit is the transfer of the surveillance technology, but do not address or limit surveillance activities per se.  What will and will not be restricted will depend largely on the actions taken by signatories to update their domestic export controls legislation.

For additional information, please refer to the following articles: