Relevant Case Law
6 August 2009: Illegal Shipments of Goods to Syria, Iran, and Sudan
DHL Holdings Inc. agreed to pay a civil penalty of $9,444,744 to settle allegations that DHL unlawfully aided and abetted the illegal export of goods to Iran, Syria, and Sudan. The civil penalty was one of the largest in the history of the Bureau of Industry and Security.
25 March 2009: Export of Encryption Devices to Iraq:
The Technical Integration Group, a company located in Rochester, Michigan, was involved in a scheme to export mobile telecommunications equipment containing encryption properties to Iraq. The equipment was shipped to Iraq via Damascus, Syria, Amman Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. Operating jointly, U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, and Her Majesty’s Customs in the Untied Kingdom conducted the Investigation. On 25 March 2009, Technical Integration Group employee, Dawn Hanna, was sentenced by the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan to six years in prison. She was also assessed a fine of $1.1 million.
25 April 2007: Violation of Cuba Sanctions
In violation of the Export Administration Regulations, LogicaCMG, Inc. exported communications equipment to Cuba via Panama without the required export license. The telecommunications equipment required an export license because it contained encryption capabilities that are controlled for national security reasons. LogicaCMG was sentenced to pay a $50,000 criminal fine and a $99,000 administrative penalty.
7 March 2006: Export of Encryption Modules to Taiwan
Chiang K. Wang, owner of China May, Inc., attempted to acquire sensitive communication encryption modules for export to Taiwan without the required export licenses. He was apprehended by a joint task force of BIS agents and Customs officers. Wang was sentenced to prison for one year and one day.
To read more about recent BIS investigations, visit:
Daniel Bernstein, as a doctoral candidate at UC Berkley, developed an encryption method called "Snuffle". When Bernstein contacted the State Department, they informed him that his encryption was a munition under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation. This was challeneged as First Amendment violation, for which Bernstein was ultimately granted summary judgment holding that ITAR was a prior restraint on free speech.
After the President Clinton issued Executive Order 13026, non-military encryption like "Snuffle" fell under the Department of Commerce and the Export Administration Regulations. The court again held that these regulations were a prior restraint on free speech.
Junger v. Daley
Peter Junger brought a constitutional challenge to the provisions of Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. Parts 730-74, that regulate the export of encryption software. As a professor of law, Junger sought to post encryption computer code on the web for a class he was teaching. The posting of this material counted as an export under the Export Administration Regulations.
Though computer code is difficult to define, as it is both creative and functional, the court ultimately held that code can be protected under First Amendment free speech.
SourcesBernstein v. United States Department of Justice, 176 F.3d 1132 (9th Cir. 1999).
Junger v. Daley, 209 F.3d 481 (6th Cir. 2000).