US agencies failed to keep technology away from the Chinese military: report | Technology News


The report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated that the Department of Commerce is making slow progress in developing a list of sensitive technologies that should be reviewed before being exported to China.

A US Congressional Consultation Report seen by Reuters showed that the US Department of Commerce failed to do everything in its power to protect national security and prevent sensitive technologies from falling into the hands of the Chinese military.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report, scheduled to be released on Tuesday, stated that the Department of Commerce has yet to develop a list of sensitive technologies that should be reviewed before being exported to China.

According to the report, in accordance with the requirements of the 2018 law, the lag in formulating the list of emerging and basic technologies may exacerbate national security risks.

The Department of Commerce, which is entrusted with strengthening the U.S. export control laws, “has failed to perform its duties so far,” according to the report entitled: Unfinished Business: Export Control and Foreign Investment Reform.

In a statement, the Ministry of Commerce refused to directly respond to the lack of a list, but pointed out that it has issued four rules on the control of emerging technologies, and there are more rules to be determined.

It also stated that it has expanded military end-user rules and added the company to its list of entities, which restricts US suppliers from selling products to companies such as Huawei Technologies and Hangzhou Hikvision.

In 2018, the U.S. Congress tightened U.S. export policies and procedures for reviewing foreign investment in response to Chinese entities’ efforts to acquire sensitive U.S. technology and use civilian innovations in the military.

The report questioned whether the Inspector General of the Ministry of Commerce should investigate the delay in formulating the list for more than two years. It also asked whether the power to enforce export controls should be delegated to another agency.

Congress passed the 2018 Export Control Reform Act to increase the difficulty of exporting key technologies to rivals such as China.

The law instructs the Ministry of Commerce to cooperate with other agencies to determine emerging or cutting-edge technologies and so-called basic technologies that are essential for manufacturing semiconductors and other key projects, and these technologies should be controlled.

In November 2018, the department released 45 examples of emerging technologies, including facial and voice recognition, but did not have a finalized list. It has not yet proposed a list of basic technologies, but in August it solicited opinions on how to define the categories.

The report did note some actions by the Ministry of Commerce.

The department has proposed to regulate gene editing software, which could make the development of biological weapons easier, but the rule has not yet been finalized. It also issued temporary rules for geospatial images involving artificial intelligence neural networks.

Advanced surveillance technology has also received some attention, including export controls that promote human rights, because it is used in Xinjiang to detain ethnic Muslim Uyghurs. But the report said that the department still has no control over the updated type of advanced monitoring software.

The US-China Committee was established by Congress 20 years ago to report on the impact of trade with China on national security. Caroline Bartholomew, now appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, serves as the chairperson.


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