June 20, 2016
Beginning today, the latest United States delegation is in Vienna for talks over export controls on hacking tools — controls that panic cybersecurity companies, many leaders in Congress and swaths of the broader U.S. business community. The talks are set to last through Wednesday, and they could prove influential to efforts to reverse the restrictions, intended to combat use of such “intrusion software” by oppressive regimes but widely thought by U.S. industry to jeopardize sales of legitimate security software. There’s one more batch of Wassenaar Arrangement talks in September, when the matter will largely be decided before a December plenary session that will make it official.
Multiple industry sources tell MC that the delegation will include representatives from the Commerce, Homeland Security and State Departments, as well as a pair of companies, Luta Security and VMWare. “The approach in this one is to socialize proposed text to get other countries’ reactions, get them to come around, lobby on proposed language, build momentum,” Symantec’s Bill Wright told MC. Last month, Rep. Jim Langevin — who has been at the forefront of efforts to reverse the restrictions — warned that it could be an uphill climb.