January 3, 2020 / 4:51 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. government limits exports of artificial intelligence software

WASHINGTON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - The Trump administration will make it more difficult to export artificial intelligence software as of next week, part of a bid to keep sensitive technologies out of the hands of rival powers like China.

Under a new rule that goes into effect on Monday, companies that export certain types of geospatial imagery software from the United States must apply for a license to send it overseas except when it is being shipped to Canada.

The measure is the first to be finalized by the Commerce Department under a mandate from a 2018 law, which tasked the agency with writing rules to boost oversight of exports of sensitive technology to adversaries like China, for economic and security reasons.

Reuters first reported that the agency was finalizing a set of narrow rules to limit such exports in a boon to U.S. industry that feared a much tougher tougher crackdown on sales abroad.

The rule will go into effect in the United States alone, but U.S. authorities could later submit it to international bodies to try to create a level playing field globally.

There has been growing frustration from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the slow roll-out of rules toughening up export controls, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, urging the Commerce Department to speed up the process.

“While the government believes that it is in the national security interests of the United States to immediately implement these controls, it also wants to provide the interested public with an opportunity to comment on the control of new items,” the rule release said. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper Editing by Alistair Bell)

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