Did you know encryption software is consider a munition? Be careful of sending computers and programs to the field.

Do you remember ever seeing this comment on a product when you were shopping at Amazon?

Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.

Ever wonder the reason for that shipping restriction?

For some products it’s because there is encryption software inside the product with a certain level of complexity.

Why is that a biggie?

Under U.S. federal law, encryption software is considered a munition.

Yeah, a munition. As in make-a-big-kaboom thing. 

I know. May be silly, but that doesn’t change that it is still classified as a munition. And that’s why some products are marked as something that can’t be shipped outside the states.

So what?

If you don’t have a license to do so, shipping something that is categorized as a munition outside the U.S. is illegal. As in go to jail and pay a terribly huge fine kind of illegal.

Now think of the supplies and equipment you sent to your staff in the field. Or that they took with them. Think there might be something that has encryption? Or do you even know?

Even laptops may have software loaded that means they can’t be exported.

Oops.

Nick Nicholaou has good discussion on the issue in his article, The Latest in Evangelistic Trends: International Arms Trafficking! at Christian Computing Magazine.

I don’t have any advice, because I don’t have any idea how to deal with the issue.

Nick’s only suggestion, after explaining the issue well, is to call the federal agency that deals with licensing before you move equipment and software outside the US to see if there are any issues.

Why do I mention an issue with no solution? So that by being aware, you could prevent a major disaster.

By the way, if you actually read this far in my post, I’m very sure you would enjoy a free subscription to Christian Computing Magazine. You can subscribe for free at their website here. Their address:  ccmag.com . Did I say it was free?

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