US export laws require companies to declare what encryption technology is used in any software to be exported. The use of open source makes complying with these regulations a tricky process.
US Export Requirements
The regulations on US software exports come from the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The specific regulations are called Export Administration Regulations (EARs). The restriction of encryption is based in national defense concerns: we don’t want bad guys to be able to hack into our secret communications, nor prevent us from cracking into theirs.
The specifics of these regulations are complex and belong in the realm of experts. The basics are that you need to tell the BIS what encryption is in any software you export, though it restricts only strong cryptography, with particular sensitivity to a small number of bad actor nation states. The agency is serious about the requirements and has been known to enforce them, notably fining Wind River $750,000 in 2014 (despite Wind River’s voluntarily disclosing the issue they had discovered themselves).
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