It is important to be aware of several things when traveling abroad:
- Hardware, software, and various materials, chemicals, microorganisms, and toxins taken with you abroad could constitute an export. Technology should be checked against the Munitions List and the Commerce Control List (Part 774).
- Most laptops, GPS devices, and cell phones are considered “tools of the trade” and are frequently carried abroad, but the investigator carrying these devices abroad must keep them on his or her person at all times and make sure the devices are brought back to the U.S. at the end of the trip. If you plan to leave GPS devices, laptops or mass market encryption products in a foreign country, please inform OSP before you travel. A license from the State Department could be needed before you travel. Software and proprietary data may also be controlled. For more information regarding “tools of the trade”, please refer to the Penn State Export Compliance Manual, pages 47 – 53.
- If project personnel will be providing training to foreign persons (non-students) in the use of ITAR-controlled technology, please inform OSP, because such training could be considered a “defense service.”
- Presentations at international conferences are generally acceptable. It is important to note, however, that sidebar conversations with conference attendees should be limited to information already in the public domain. If the research being discussed in sidebar conversations isn’t related in any way to any technologies on the Munitions List or the Commerce Control List, then there’s no risk of an export of technical data taking place via a sidebar conversation, regardless of where that conversation takes place. But if your research is related to a listed technology, then you can NOT talk to foreign colleagues about your work unless the conversation is licensed or otherwise exempt. Should you have any questions, please contact OSP for further review.
- Penn State’s policies on export control are outlined in RA18 and RAG11. (See specifically “Presentation of Previously Unpublished Research Data at Conferences").
- The U.S. Department of State maintains a listing of applicable travel warnings. The State Department also recommends that you register your trip outside the United States. Registration allows you to record information about your trip so that the Department of State can assist you in case of an emergency. The FBI advises you to make photo copies of your passport and plane tickets and to keep the copies in separate storage.
FBI information for traveling overseas with mobile phones, laptops, PDA’s and other electronic devices can be found here. PSU's Risk Management Office offers additional recommendations.