Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Final Frontier -- Is Your Law Firm ITAR Compliant?

A reader pointed out an interesting news story published this week on the topic of space exploration, highlighting the challenges facing aerospace companies and their supplies working under US ITAR regulations -- rules which may also affect your law firm.

ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, is US law that specifies that information relating to defense and military technologies may only be accessed by US persons (citizens or permanent residents). Law firms providing services to clients subject to ITAR and related regulations must take special care to maintain and document compliance.

This includes ensuring that internal stakeholders not considered US persons are restricted from accessing sensitive information prepared for or provided by clients. Areas firms should consider include examining the extent to which IT personnel (or outsourced service providers) may be able to access this data, or the degree to which information may be unintentionally available to non-US lawyers or staff located in international offices.

To address these issues, several law firms turn to confidentiality management technology, such as information barrier automation and abnormal activity monitoring software to address their risk management and compliance tracking requirements. [Fellow space fans: see also this detailed paper arguing that ITAR and related rules are hampering commercial space tourism.]

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