Symantec Testifies Before U.S. Congress in Opposition to Wassenaar Arrangement Cybersecurity Export Controls
January 12, 2016
On January 12, 2016, Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Cybersecurity Policy Cheri McGuire testified before the U.S. House of Representatives at a rare joint hearing of the Homeland Security Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The hearing was titled: Wassenaar – Cybersecurity & Export Control. Given the serious consequences this new international export control could have on global cybersecurity, it was no surprise that the hearing room was at overflow capacity. In addition to Symantec, there were an unprecedented eight witnesses testifying – including executives from the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Homeland Security, and Microsoft, VMWare and the Information Technology Industry Council. Symantec and industry colleagues expressed strong opposition to the international Wassenaar cybersecurity export control, and urged the U.S. Government to renegotiate and narrow the definition at the upcoming annual meeting of Wassenaar nations.
The hearing, led by Subcommittee Chairs John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Will Hurd (R-TX), along with Ranking Members Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Robin Kelly (D-IL) focused on the detrimental economic and national security impacts of this new regulation. At the hearing, and in a rare showing of bipartisanship, every single Member of the Committees was sympathetic to our arguments that the regulation would harm cybersecurity.
In addition, at our urging, Congress has taken other actions including a bipartisan group of 125 Representatives sent a letter to President Obama’s National Security Advisor urging the Administration to send the export control rule back to Wassenaar to be renegotiated or heavily revised. We appreciate and support the U.S. Government’s proposal to eliminate controls on technology at the upcoming Wassenaar meeting. The hardware and software controls also should be eliminated as they would continue to hinder the ability of global companies to fully protect their own networks and customers and to stay ahead of future threats.