SECO denies export of surveillance technology to Turkey

Trade Compliance, export controls, surveillance technology

As covered by Swiss media, the State secretary of economic affairs (SECO) has denied an export of surveillance technology to Turkey. According to official SECO statistics the denied export contained surveillance equipment classified as 5A001.f2, described in the revised annex of the Goods Control Ordinance (GCO) as:

Category 5 - telecommunications and information security 5A1 systems, equipment and components -5A001 telecommunication systems, equipment, parts thereof and accessories --f) Equipment specially designed for the interception or interference of mobile communication and surveillance equipment as follows, as well as specially designed parts thereof: ---2) surveillance equipment not covered by category 5A001f1 , specially designed for extraction of terminal identifier (e.g. IMSI, TMSI, or IMEI), from signalling or other metadata transmitted over the air

This kind of technology, generally known as IMSI-Catcher allows identification of mobile end-users within a specific area and mobile network cell.

The Ordinance on export and placement of goods for internet- and mobile communication surveillance defines a general license requirement for the export of surveillance equipment, independently of the country of destination. The ordinance does not only cover the export of goods but also the export of technology and brokering services. The SECO denied the export to Turkey based on Art.6 para 1(a) of the Ordinance, this means the SECO assumed that it is very likely that the equipment would be misused by the end-user for the purpose of retaliation measures.

Companies that are active in the field of information technology and surveillance equipment should ensure that potential export license requirements are identified as early as possible. A solid compliance program could help to avoid unpleasant events at the day of export or even violations of the law with potentially significant fines.

MME Compliance AG supports customers with their analysis of regulatory environment and implementation of a suitable compliance program.

* Peter Henschel

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