Win for Sanity

The US Dept. of Commerce just killed, or at least referred to a committee, a set of dumb and restrictive proposals for changes to our rules on the export of technology and ideas. You can read about it at Secrecy News, “Deemed Exports”: Commerce Department Retreats.

Not only did we have a proposed restatement of the current (not-enforced) rule that an “export” occurs when I teach a class here in Miami that has a foreign student in it, but also an attempt to stop giving full faith and credit to foreign naturalizations (which isn’t unconstitutional but seems dubious under international law and treaty obligations) .

Commerce proposed that “access restrictions should be based on an individual’s country of birth rather than on his current citizenship.” This wasn’t a proposal to discriminate among naturalized US citizens (which would be thoroughly unconstitutional) but rather to discriminate among, say, naturalized Canadians depending on where they came from. A record-keeping nightmare for US universities, and probably a foreign-relations nightmare too. Good riddance.

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