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Exporting Knowledge Via Students 397

Posted by Zonk
from the keep-those-brain-cells-here dept.
brainhum writes "SF Weekly reports that proposed Department of Commerce regulations will require foreign students at US universities to apply for export licenses to use dual purpose technologies in the classroom. From the article: 'Inherent in the new rules is a discriminatory contradiction: Students from India, which has cordial relations with the U.S., will need licenses to study, but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.' The proposed regulations point out that current export license requirements are based on the person's most recent citizenship, which they believe, could allow a person born in Iran to avoid licensing if they held Canadian citizenship. More information is available in the SF Weekly story "Student of Concern"."
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Exporting Knowledge Via Students

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  • Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:15PM (#12592774) Homepage Journal
    They've got it backwards! We don't want to restrict American information, we want to export as much of it as possible! We have to make the world a safer place by ensuring that every street corner in the world has a McDonalds and Starbucks! Not to mention Plasma TVs and DVD players so that our current enemies are too busy drooling in front of the television to be worried about such a thing as killing Americans! (Don't laugh, I'm halfway serious.)

    To sober up a bit, this is a silly restriction. Nearly all the information you can obtain in higher education can be now found on the Internet. Why bother even trying to restrict it? Besides, competition keeps the world healty. Without it, what desire is there to continue developing new and better technologies? Not to mention the matter of helping our fellow man. India has improved a lot, but my understanding is that there are still plenty of poverty-ridden areas. Many African countries are another good example of this. Why stop them from developing their country? If you want to be effective, close the legal holes in our own country that effectively allow for the import/out-sourcing of slave labor. (e.g. We should open our borders and allow people to legally immigrate in order to work, and then start prosecuting the abuses of the H1-B system.)

    There's probably not too much that can be done about out-sourcing (other than ensuring working conditions are required to be to american code), but that doesn't matter quite as much. In a short period of time, the out-sourcing bubble is likely to collapse as companies find that they aren't saving money. Alternatively, foreign wages will rise to a sufficient degree to make such out-sourcing impractical.

    Sorry about the American-centered post, but the original story is all about us and our laws. Europeans and other world residents may feel free to chime in with their anecdotes and feelings on the issue. :-)
    • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:2, Insightful)

      competition keeps the world healty

      Err... Yeah, competition in the realms of nuclear testing and missiles will give it that healthy, glowing complexion free of humans it's wanted for years.
      • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:26PM (#12592897) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, competition in the realms of nuclear testing and missiles will give it that healthy, glowing complexion free of humans it's wanted for years.

        Or it could lead to better nuclear technology, including nuclear engines [wikipedia.org] and space travel [wikipedia.org].

        Truth be told, the cold war was the last vestige of a long age of war. Remember, WWI was primarily about nobility attempting to maintain power in a modern world, while WWII was about Eugenics and superiority through control of genetics. (Since proven to be absolute garbage.)

        The cold war was the same issue: Governments trying to hold onto personal power over others. They got away with it because the system was touted as a modern form of government that was for the people and by the people. And like all such governments, it collapsed in the face of the true ideals of individual freedom. Anyone remember the television show "Dallas"? Who would have thought [wikipedia.org] that it could lead to the fall of communism in Romania?
        • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bman08 (239376) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:36PM (#12593003)
          A lot of folks (to use a Bushism to cover being too lazy to research exactly who) refer to the twentieth century as one long world war that just cooled off in a few places. The injustices of Versailles led two WW2 when led to the splitting of Europe between Western and Soviet influences.

          Back on topic, this is a fucking retarded move. Another in a series of steps toward the end of America's golden age. Fellow Americans, our government is failing us in every conceivable way. Very few of our problems have their roots in the evils of furriners. Isolation serves only to cut us out of the equation. It's a bad play any way you slice it, and to see the ridiculous way it's being weilded WRT Indians vs. Saudis... ugh.

        • Err.... Still have problems with your viewpoint here. Nuclear engines and space travel are fine things. Really fine things. Unfortunately, what is more likely to come out of the exportation of nuclear physicists is 'rogue' states and random psychopaths in control of incredibly powerful weapons earlier. I'm under the impression that it's inevitable, and merely a matter of time until it happens. However, I would very much prefer it to be 'later' than 'sooner.'

          The Cold War the last vestige of a long a
          • But if we're in such a time of peace, why is our army more taxed than at any time DURING the Cold War?

            Because during the cold war the Military recieved adequate funding for what it was required to do and had sufficient personel. After the fall of the Soviet Union congress cut back on the number of personell in the military. (Number of personell in the military is regulated by congress directly, the military has no direct power in the matter). Here is a PDF showing a graph of active duty personnel fro [osd.mil]
            • Interesting. So, by this graph, we're trying to fight a war as arduous as Vietnam with approximately, 1/3 the troops? Neat. No wonder they're talking about a draft, and thank goodness I'm older than the optimal poor-bastard-holding-a-gun age.
        • by skwang (174902) on Friday May 20, 2005 @04:07PM (#12593370)
          WWII was about Eugenics and superiority through control of genetics.

          Blanket statements such as these always invite the inevitable discussions. ("No your wrong!" "You suck!" "No YOU suck!"). World War II had many causes. Unlike some other wars which can be traced back to a single cause, WWII's causes included:

          European theater

          • Hilter's desire to return Germany to first class world power status after being humilated by the Treaty of Versailles.
          • Hilter's policy of "living space" which demanded the forced exodus of people of slavic origin in order to make space of his "Master Race." And my forced exodus I also mean the systematic genocide of entire races. (The eugenics you speak of).
          • Domination of the European continent, politically. Hilter's Germany probably would not have occupied France and other Western European countries if Germany had won the war. Instead they would have set up satellite states similar to the Soviet Union's Warsaw Pact.
          • Mussolini's desire to elevate Italy to first class world power status.
          • His own imperial desires to conquor the Balkens, Greece, and North Africa in order to make modern Italy a second "Roman Empire."
          • Britian and France's inability to recognize Facsim as a threat they had to match early on, instead appeasing Hilter and letting him "annex" the Sudatenland, Austria, and Chezkoslovakia. (okay not really a cause but not everything is Hilter's fault)
          Pacific Theatre
          • Japan's desire to become a first class world power.
          • The Japanese military government's view that an overseas empire would make it less dependent on foriegn raw material. Specifically oil which it had to import. ("Foriegn dependence on oil" sound familiar?)
          • The miltary's desire to conquor China for it's fertile land and resources.
          • Japan figuring that it was better off fighting the US in one crushing blow instead of negotiating.

          Of course I havn't touched on all the causes and I am sure I got some of my details wrong. In addition I am sure I made a blanket statement somewhere that will invite discussion.

          Oh well. :\

          • to add to the list a point that's apparently insignificant:
            • The Soviets' desire to lift their economy and military out of the medieval mud


            Specifically, their 'exchange' agreements with Germany from which the germans got a loophole for the military limitations Versailles imposed on them, while the russians got the tech.

            Oh, and it's "fascism", btw.
    • They've got it backwards! We don't want to restrict American information, we want to export as much of it as possible! We have to make the world a safer place by ensuring that every street corner in the world has a McDonalds and Starbucks! Not to mention Plasma TVs and DVD players so that our current enemies are too busy drooling in front of the television to be worried about such a thing as killing Americans! (Don't laugh, I'm halfway serious.)

      Halfway is too serious (I apologize in advance if I'm missing
      • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:2, Informative)

        by Radres (776901)
        You're guilty of watching too much Fox News.

        Here [informatio...house.info] is the real reason why we were attacked. It is because we were making military advancements on Muslim soil. Both "hating freedom" and "hating our society" were excuses that Bush came up with.

        • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by s20451 (410424) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:40PM (#12593050) Journal
          I'm always suspicious when somebody calls attention to the "real" reason. Is it too hard to understand that simple events have complex motivations?

          Why did the attacks happen?

          - Was it because US troops are on Muslim soil? The US has more foreign bases than any other nation, sometimes on seriously unfreindly territory (e.g., Cuba), almost all of which have provoked no suicide attacks.

          - Was it because of cultural dominance? Then why aren't Canadians and Europeans bombing the hell out of the United States? They bear the worst of it.

          - Was it because of the poverty of the Arab world? But most of the attackers were middle-class and well educated. This is also true of many Palestinian bombers. Furthermore, many Arab countries are well off.

          - Was it for reasons that takes more than five seconds to describe? Most likely.
          • by schemanista (739124) <[rufmetal] [at] [eol.ca]> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:44PM (#12593095)

            Was it because of cultural dominance? Then why aren't Canadians and Europeans bombing the hell out of the United States? They bear the worst of it.

            We've launched Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado and Celine Dion at you. Damn you Americans for being impervious to our mind-control rays.
            • Thanks for the chuckle. It sorta fits with a funny blog 'about-me' [stcynic.com] page I read yesterday: ( I threw in a couple extra from his list because they're excellent, too.)

              7. I had one really great high school teacher who told me that education is "the process of disillusionment". I didn't know what he meant at the time; I do now.

              8. My real first name is Richard. In the 7th grade, after years of living with the horror of having that as a first name, we moved from one town to another and it occured to me that

            • Oh but we didn't give up with thoese guys. Take Sum 41, and avril lavien(sp?), simple plan, just from the pop-punk 'genre'. Not to mention that L.A. is the third largest Canadian city with more Canadian citizens living and working there then the popultion of Vancover(at least a few years ago anyway).

              Not so impervious now eh....
          • some clues here [informatio...house.info].
          • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MasterOfUniverse (812371) on Friday May 20, 2005 @05:08PM (#12593983)
            Was it because US troops are on Muslim soil? The US has more foreign bases than any other nation, sometimes on seriously unfreindly territory (e.g., Cuba), almost all of which have provoked no suicide attacks.

            cuba does not regard guantanamo as holy place. Muslims regard saudi arabia as holy place.

            - Was it because of cultural dominance? Then why aren't Canadians and Europeans bombing the hell out of the United States? They bear the worst of it.

            If you would know, canada,europe and US are all part of Western Civilization. There are differences, but not as great as a difference between US and middle east

            - Was it because of the poverty of the Arab world? But most of the attackers were middle-class and well educated. This is also true of many Palestinian bombers. Furthermore, many Arab countries are well off.

            Right, and the attackers understood that it is thier duty to standup for the weak, since they are well educated in the land of illitrate (ofcourse the form (suicide bombing) is wrong imho.) Many middle east countries are indeed well off. But only thier dictators (with US support). The general polulation lives in poverty (except UAE).

            - Was it for reasons that takes more than five seconds to describe? Most likely.

            Yes, but you covered the main reasons already. When you see that the only very few people are getting rich in the land of oil and you still don't have money to eat 3 times, I think you would question why.

        • This I know. Bin Laden's fatwa was required reading in my Mid-East Studies course. /. must have filtered my sarcasm tags. :-)
        • The "real reason" we were attack is because many ideologies can't exist with introspection. Having an "enemy" is good way to divert attention outward, you can rationalize all of your problems as being caused by your enemy. (boy is this comment going to start a flame-fest or what).
      • If I'm not mistaken, some people used an airplane as a bomb because of (among other reasons) what you are describing above. This type of "culture exportation" is what is driving fundamentalist thinking in the Muslim world.

        You're mistaken. They don't hate freedom, and they don't hate McDonalds. They hate the U.S. specifically, and to a slightly lesser extent the rest of the "Western" countries that support or at least do not stop them.

        Why? Well, they hate the U.S. because of what they perceive to be U.S.
        • You must have missed (among other reasons).

          I certainly do agree with most of what you said. But I have heard that many traditionalist Muslims are very upset that their culture is being destroyed by "corrupt" (open to debate) western influences.

          As far as "hating freedom". It is sad that the discourse is dumbed down to that level. And, as I noted in a previous post, /. must have removed my sarcasm tags when speaking about how they hate freedom.
    • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by metlin (258108) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:26PM (#12592896) Journal

      Most students would simply go to another country without these restrictions, such as United Kingdom, Germany or other countries with good educational opportunities.

      This is the US shooting itself in the foot - the international intelligentsia who come to the US contribute significantly to the American society. By restricting what they have access to, you're restricting their contributions.

      Consequently, they'll simply go elsewhere, where there are similar opportunities without such draconic laws. The result? The US will lose out on a lot of very smart people who until now saw the US as a good destination for education and research.

      And you must also keep in mind that a lot of these folks do stay back in the US after higher education and become permanent residents or citizens - discouraging them from studying and you've lost a lot of talent preemptively.
    • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by brontus3927 (865730) <edwardra3@gmailTIGER.com minus cat> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:29PM (#12592926) Homepage Journal
      Besides, competition keeps the world healty. Without it, what desire is there to continue developing new and better technologies? Not to mention the matter of helping our fellow man.

      Not that I'm condoning it, but the article does mention that it would be needed for dual-use technologies, which means things that could be used to advance another country's military technology. There are alerady licensing issues when exporting the technologies themselves (Want to launch a satelite from Brazil? Expect a lot of paperwork). THis is the realization that students could easily learn this in the US and then simply take their textbook, notebook, or even just memory back home to advance military science of their home country.

      That said, I find the inherent racism of brainhum appaling. What makes an Iranian or Saudi inherently more dangerous than a Mexican, Indian, Russian, German, etc? And an Iranian-born Canadian citizen? jeez!

      • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by metlin (258108) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:32PM (#12592967) Journal
        My favourite quote from the article:

        "When the Third Reich was emerging, they said that only Germans of pure Aryan descent could attend German universities. Significant numbers of German scholars departed," she says. "That was detrimental for Germany, but was glorious for the U.S.

        "We got Einstein."


        Ah, well.
    • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172)
      Not to mention Plasma TVs and DVD players . . . (Don't laugh, I'm halfway serious.)

      I have a friend who, before the invasion of Afghanistan, argued that we shouldn't leave there until we insured that every household had a TV and DVD player.

      He was serious. He considered that a sign of American democracy. I don't think he considered the irony inherent in our obtaining those particular items from China, an actual neighbor of Afghanistan.

      ". . .competition keeps the world healty."

      Indeed. I lived through the J
    • Re:Wrong idea! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RWerp (798951)
      Just my two cents: given the fact that science in America was developed by generations of people who came from Europe and other parts of the world (Michelson, Einstein, Ulam ...), it's a very selfish and egoistic move.
    • Export Plasma TVs and DVD players? Are you under the misguided impression that these things are made in and exported from the US?
  • Ummm? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shky (703024) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (yraeloykhs)> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:18PM (#12592802) Homepage Journal
    How much oil is the US getting from India?


    (Note, I haven't read TFA, so I really don't have an informed opinion of what's going on, it was just a thought that struck me.)
    • How much oil is the US getting from Canada?
      -russ
      • IIRC, we get much more oil from Canada than one would think. I think its more than we get from OPEC countries. Of course, if someone can provide good data, I stand corrected.
      • by Shky (703024)
        "Canada sends over 99% of its crude oil exports to the U.S., and the country is one of the most important sources of U.S. oil imports." -http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/canada.html [doe.gov]
        ,br> I guess a lot, then.
      • by gvc (167165)
        Frem the CIA Factbook (Canada) [cia.gov]:

        Oil - production:
        3.11 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
        Oil - consumption:
        2.2 million bbl/day (2003 est.)
        Oil - exports:
        1.37 million bbl/day (2004)
        Oil - imports:
        987,000 bbl/day (2004)

    • None. India is not a significant world exporter of petroleum products.

      If the question really is, "How much comparative political & economic pull does India have vs. Saudi Arabia?", the answer would seem to be similar. However, India is not ruled by a monolithic elite family that would be easily offended by such a gesture.

      The point is really moot. Foreign relations with neither country would be harmed materially by such a rule in the long term.

      Foreign and domestic economic policy dictates (arguabl
  • It is vitally important to get a receipt when using the lavatory!
  • All the more reason to patent and copyright everything! See, the world doesn't have to worry about handing over proprietary or critical technologies, as long as we arm (literally) the RIAA and MPAA, and patent lawyers, with automatic weapons and a license to kill.
  • My Take (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:21PM (#12592840) Journal
    This is not about terrorism, this export tax. It's about people going to the US to study and work in America, who are from India, and then taking the knowledge back to India, along with all the business.

    My opinion is that it's a free country, but does that make it a free world? Should people be able to move all the business out of one country to simply make a buck? Maybe that's not ethical if you're gaining the knowledge from the country in question. But maybe there is a better twist to it...

    I'm Canadian and I have tried outsourcing to the US before with my LAMP [wikipedia.org] knowledge (PHP). The pay simply sucks. I can get more money doing local work for charities than working for someone abroad. The pay is that bad. So if Joe American wants to pay that to India to get better positioning for their company's budget -- I'm all for it. Why? Because now I can compete directly against the Indian firm on QUALITY -- something they can't compete on because they just don't have the time with all this new business coming in, IMHO.

    I take more time to be sure the job is well done, and that reinforces the expression that you get what you pay for.
    • Re:My Take (Score:2, Insightful)

      huh? The u.s. has a monopoly or some sort of copywrite on the fountain of knowledge... since when ? They paid for their education, one way or another. This reminds of the way the average american thinks in regards to nuclear weapons. Somehow, someway, America was blessed by the grace of god to unearth the secrets of the Atom... we did it before everybody else.. therefore it must be some god given right to possess vast stores of nuclear armaments.

      These same people sit around all befuddled as to why
    • Ethics and Countries (Score:3, Interesting)

      by logicnazi (169418)
      Actually I woul argue just the opposite. It is most definatly unethical to try and keep knowledge secret just to maintain your economic superiority. After all letting them have the knowledge (assuming it is only economiclly usefull and not militarily) is in and of itself no skin off your back and the fact that it stops you from exploiting them in return for this knowledge or its fruits is irrelevant.

      As an analogy suppose you were visiting a poor diabetic for dinner. On your way in you scan the room tryi
  • Students from India, which has cordial relations with the U.S., will need licenses to study, but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.

    Ahh. Cognitive Dissonance, well, maybe in 10 or 15 years we will get over this and do stuff that is kind of intelligent. (Although it could be that India has nukes and the Saudis have Isreal right next door to them,
  • Decline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Cabri (13930) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:24PM (#12592870) Journal
    This is another nail in the coffin of the US education industry. Universities in Canada and Australia probably celebrated the news with champagne.
    • If the US has export controls on goods they carry over to Canada.
      For example, the US military has rules against on foreigners working on certain parts of military programs.

      Canada is not considered "foreign" in some cases, which makes us exempt from some of these restrictions, however the factories must comply with the (arguably racist) US policy.

      The way around this is that "Ethnic Origin" is a functional job requirement for these projects.
    • The first nail, of course, was when it was first called the "education industry".
    • Re:Decline (Score:3, Informative)

      by orin (113079)
      Absolutely - I'm a contract lecturer at an Australian university and this decision makes it more likely that I will get a permanant position! A significant percentage of my department's income is from overseas students. The US is one of the largest competitors in the market of Chinese/Singapore/India/Malaysian students. As the US gradually withdraws from the higher education market, it can only benefit those institutions that are in direct competition. Thank you USA!
  • OSAMA HAS WON! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The war in Afghanistan is not body count or political power. It is about fundamentalist ideology, and it is taking over the U.S. Osama has won!
    • I can understand why the parent was modded down, but let me quote George Bush,

      These are still dangerous times. There's an enemy out there that would like to hurt us and change our way of life and shake our will and shake our confidence. Friday, July 30, 2004. Springfield, MO.

      It seems Osama has changed our way of lives, or has Mr. Bush and his closest friends?
      --
      Random Signature #2
      Generated by SlashdotRndSig [snop.com] via GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org]
  • Hardest workers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kaamos (647337) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:25PM (#12592882)
    Granted, I'm from canada, but work as an undergraduate student on a civil engineering project, with the brains being an Iranian post-doctorate student. The foreign students always seem to be the hardest workers around the University, it's incredible. Even if I consider myself generous of my time, most of these people never look at the time, and pull incredible shifts, coming in during the weekends and staying late to finish off presentations for next week. I cannot imagine this being any different in the USA. I'm not sure governement workers will pull long hours to grant those permits. Modern day research cannot allow itself such a blatent chokepoint.
    • One thing I've noticed in getting my PhD that while the foreign students do spend TONS of time in the lab, many I've seen don't actually get much done. The way I normally put it is that you CAN spend 20 hours a day in the lab, but if for 10 of those hours your waiting for an experiment to finish so you can do the next step, what the heck is the point? While the American student would leave and go out with friends/family/etc., many foreign students don't have that base there and simply stay in the lab. I'
    • Read what the other guy said first. It applies to many cases.

      India has 3-4 times as many people as the IS (~1 billion vs ~300 million). They send their best over here to get an education. It is no surprise that it seems like they have a lot of smart people, they do, but proportionally no more than the US. It is just that you see them because they don't fit in with Americans in anything else.

      Education is not about hard work, it is about understanding. Many hours in memorization may help you ace

  • Uh huh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shky (703024) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (yraeloykhs)> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:25PM (#12592885) Homepage Journal
    Students from India, which has cordial relations with the U.S., will need licenses to study, but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.

    I think what's far scarier is that the country that Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski come from doesn't have this restriction. They're able to go to US universities without licenses.

  • Hidden Agenda? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nytewynd (829901) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:27PM (#12592900)
    It seems that by if this were in the interest of security, they would be required to include Saudi Arabi in the list of contries. By including India, it almost seems like a backwards attempt to limit foreign students from replacing Americans in the technical fields. I am not sure if that is a conspiracy theory/tinfoil hat kind of thought, but something seems odd about this entire piece of legislation.

    First of all, like someone mentioned, anything you can learn in the US in a classroom is already published somewhere. The same textbook you buy for your class is probably on Amazon.com for anyone in any country to purchase. Teaching an Indian student about Nuclear Engineering is really not a security concern. If that student was intent on learning nuclear technology to create WMDs, there are other countries they could go to anyway to learn.

    Placing restrictions on education is the last thing we should be doing. With the general population dumbing down, we should be accepting anyone willing to learn. Highly educated people are becoming few and far between. I don't care if the next guy that designs the power plant that keeps my house lit up is Indian or American, as long as someone learns how to do it.

    I don't want to get politcal, but this seems like a situation entirely fabricated by the government for some kind of hidden agenda.
    • It seems that by if this were in the interest of security, they would be required to include Saudi Arabi in the list of contries.

      Wow. It's almost as if they expect that Saudi Arabia will cease to be any sort of threat to the US in the near future! I wonder why they would think that...

    • Number of nuclear programs in India: 1
      Number of nuclear programs in Saudi Arabia: 0


      I think that about sums it up. It's a stupid policy, but India did test nukes knowing they were going to incur sanctions.
  • Saudi Arabia... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LegendOfLink (574790) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:27PM (#12592902) Homepage
    Somebody please explain why our government panders to a the terrorist capitol of the world.
  • but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.

    Aside from making me wish I could mod the article -1, Flamebait, what does this matter? The only possible purpose to this statement is to inflame the debate.

    NEWS FLASH: The USofA is home to the majority of terrorists that have attacked abortion clinics and is the source of the financing and ideology of right wing militants. We should immediately move to ensure that all Americans that attend universities apply for licenses to use the knowledge the acquire.

    Ridiculous, right? Feel better now?

    • but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.



      Aside from making me wish I could mod the article -1, Flamebait, what does this matter? The only possible purpose to this statement is to inflame the debate.


      I don't think its flamebait. If the legislation does go ahead with this type of differentiation, then the question does indeed arise - whats specia
    • The relevance is that this is being introduced in the name of security. The point is to restrict education of possible military knowledge to people from countries we are worried about. That is exactly how Saudi Arabia fits into the issue. It's not a slam on Saudi Arabi, nor is anyone saying that Saudi Arabians are all evil, but if you are restricting people based on the potential military threat of their home country, Saudi Arabia probably should be at the top of the list.

      The USA is definitely overpop
    • by Quixote (154172) * on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:50PM (#12593166) Homepage Journal
      Well, the submitter was merely pointing out a logical fallacy behind the purported reasoning of these (proposed?) restrictions.

      If the idea indeed is to deny knowledge to potential enemies, it makes sense to see who these "enemies" are. And looking at the fact that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi; Bin Laden is a Saudi; many of the others in the Al Qaeda hierarchy are Saudi; it would make sense to include Saudis in this set of restricted students. Now, to not put restrictions on Saudis and then turn around and place such restrictions on Indians (to name a group) who have had no involvement whatsoever in terrorism against the US and EU, defies logic, doesn't it??

    • by dvdeug (5033) <dvdeug@e[ ]l.ro ['mai' in gap]> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:56PM (#12593233)
      but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.

      The only possible purpose to this statement is to inflame the debate.

      Why? Saudi Arabians have repeatedly attacked the US, and Saudi Arabia is highly undemocratic and has no religious freedom. India is a free country and Indians have never posed a threat to the US. Shouldn't that be taken into account when discussing further restrictions on who can be taught dangerous information?
    • We should also restrict Divinity students from Rome. Hell - when are we going to INVADE THE VATICAN with a Pre-emptive to Protect America's Children from the Gathering Threat of Pedophile Priests? (and the dark, shadowy organization that covers-up their misdeeds and moves them from place to place so they can avoid punishment, and rape more children).

      I can't wait to start hearing the stories of US interrogators flushing Bibles down the toilet. . .
  • Instead of some bogus 'licensing' scheme that no one will follow anyway once they leave the country, just bar access to our school system ( or even the country totally ) to undesirables.

    Problem solved.
  • Well, if we're talking about indians they'll probably be writing the software themselves. Will they need to apply for an import license to turn in their homework?

    India is working on the bomb, but come on. if they really wanted to "leak" something they'd just pirate it. If software is available to collage students it can't be that important.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:36PM (#12593000)
    Which you can buy in... Book shops?

  • by wk633 (442820) on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:38PM (#12593024)
    This is akin to the law which prohibited "Applied Cryptography" to be exported with the floppy disk, which had source code listings from the book. The book (with the text version of the source) was fine, just not the disk with the magnetic version.

    Because we all know foreigners are too dumb to use an OCR scanner...
  • by AnObfuscator (812343) <onering AT phys DOT ufl DOT edu> on Friday May 20, 2005 @03:42PM (#12593077) Homepage
    It's those evil Canadians! They're trying to export our top secret TEXTBOOKS and even... *gasp* our LECTURE NOTES! They must be STOPPED at ONCE!
    • The proposed regulations point out that current export license requirements are based on the person's most recent citizenship, which they believe, could allow a person born in Iran to avoid licensing if they held Canadian citizenship.

      In other words, not a "real" Canadian.
  • Seems like the Department of Commerce has been left out of getting some of the money for the war on terrorism. So they create some new regulations that need to be enforced to protect America from foreign students who could assemble an WMD to carry in their backpack and bang Congress for more money. Won't be long before the EPA requires a license to fart since everyone knows that's environmental terrorism if that was done in a crowded room.
  • by DJ Marvin (750482)
    This law is just another blindfold for the ones that think the government should do something to "stop those terrorists and competitors to know as much as we do". It will change nothing. The US is as advanced as many countries in Europe, and even behind Japan and some other countries in some technologies.

    I fail to see how restricting anything in the universities will help avoid terrorism, when the terrorists (Osama, etc) that planned 9/11 were trained by US military. Oh! Wait! maybe they _did_ take a degre
  • Remember how the US (and everybody elses) car industry was devastated by Japan?

    That will be nothing compared to what China will do. With a vast internal market they can export to the rest of the world at rock bottom prices.

    If they can't educate their better students in US colleges the Chinese will just bite the bullet and set up their own _English_ language colleges and buy in top quality staff with the promise of research grants. Then they will attract all the Asian students currently wanting to go to
    • I didn't realize that the auto industry was devastated by the Japanese.

      I thought that the foreign automakers (notably Korean and Japanese) are setting up more North American design and production.

      As for China, all the automakers are working on expanding in there.

      In time global pricing will equalize, if China frees its currency, this will happen faster.
  • but students from Saudi Arabia -- home country for most of the participants in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and much of the financing and ideology behind Islamist terrorism -- will not.

    And what prevents an Islamist terrorist from studing in India - DOH!?!?!? Specially when his teacher was just graduated from the US.

    The obvious logical step is requiring foreign students to belong in a country who agrees NOT to trade with banned countries.

    And then, requiring foreign students to belong in a
  • If someone fled a freedom-hating, oppressive nation and obtained citizenship in the West, they were considered heroic.

    Now, if they do the same thing, we keep a close eye on them, because their place or birth makes them inherently untrustworthy.

    Nice.
    • by l2718 (514756)

      This is really happening:

      Shaul Mofaz, Israel's Defense Minister, visited the US in 2002, shortly after 9/11. The border officials in JFK airport in NYC didn't let him in, becuase he was born in Iran in 1948. It took high-level diplomatic intervention to allow him to continue instead of being turned back to Israel. Apparently being a former Chief of Staff [wikipedia.org] of the IDF (Israeli Army) doesn't mean you might not be an Iranian terrorist.

      In March 2003, the Israeli singer Rita had to cancel a tour of the US.

  • It is an "export" license, not an "obtain" license.

    So technically, they should be able to learn something, they just should not be able to leave the country unless they get the export license.

    • Yes.

      The reason educated people were not allowed to leave the Soviet Union was that the government did not want to "export" their knowledge. Only if the Soviet government really trusted that an educated person would come back would he be allowed to temporarily leave.

      Today this "export restriction" only applies to some foreigners. But how long will this restriction last? After all, US citicens could also leave their country with potentially dangerous information in their minds, and thus "export" this pot

  • Whats the point? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by g8oz (144003)
    Asides from being burdensome and creating a chilling atmosphere for foreign students, how is it really going to help? There are too many ways around it.

    Information flows more freely than ever in todays world, and these restrictions just add up to more bureaucratic nonsense while doing little to boost American security.

  • The US government is perfectly justified in wanting to have better safeguards to ensure that sensitive knowledge is used for the appropriate purpose. Most nations, including my own have similar or even stricter safeguards than the US has, about the sharing of sensitive information.

    As an Indian grad student studying in the US, I have absolutely no problem with an extra pair of eyes checking to see if what I'm doing is legit. I suspect that many international students don't either. What I fear though is th
  • These laws will certainly not achieve a blockage of information, only will illegalize moving the information back.

    Which will only give the US legal ammunition whenever they need it against foreign companies, governments and technologies.

    Makes me wonder if downloading linux-2.6.10.tar.bz2 from USA will be illegal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2005 @05:04PM (#12593951)
    From the APS, sent on 22 April 2005

    Dear Chairs of PhD-granting Physics Departments,

    I am writing to alert you to a possible threat to research in your department
    and to urge you and your faculty to write to the Department of Commerce (DOC)
    in response to its "Advance notice of proposed rulemaking" published in the
    Federal Register on March 28, 2005. The notice calls for comments that must be
    received by May 27, 2005. As discussed below, the leadership of the American
    Physical Society feels this issue is so important that you should seek to
    provide thoughtful and accurate responses by your university administration,
    your department and individual faculty who might be affected by the
    recommended changes. We believe that your comments can make a difference.

    The proposed rulemaking by the DOC is a response to recommendations presented
    by the Department's Inspector General. Implementation of these
    recommendations would cause two major changes:

    1) The operation of export-controlled instrumentation by a foreign national
    working in your department would be considered a "deemed export", even if that
    person were engaged in fundamental research. As a consequence, a license
    would be required for each affected foreign national (student, staff or
    faculty member) and for each export controlled instrument. Typical export
    controlled instruments are high-speed oscilloscopes, high-resolution
    lithography systems, high-end computers and GPS systems. The situation is
    complicated by the fact that the list of instruments is different for each
    country.

    2) U.S. organizations would be required to apply for a deemed export license
    for students, employees or visitors who are foreign nationals (but not U. S.
    naturalized citizens or permanent residents) and have access to controlled
    technology if they were born in a country where the technology transfer in
    question would require an export license, regardless of their most recent
    citizenship or permanent residency. For example, transfer of technology to a
    Chinese scientist who has established permanent residency or citizenship in
    Canada would be treated, for export licensing purposes under the proposed
    guidelines, as a deemed export to a Chinese foreign national. (The list of
    export-controlled instruments for Chinese nationals is particularly
    extensive.)

    The Department of Commerce officials who have the responsibility for
    developing new policies and practices in response to the Inspector General's
    recommendations are anxious to determine what the impact of implementing those
    recommendations would be. They must seek a balance between increases in
    national security that might result from the implementation of the new rules
    and the decrease in national security that would result from negative impacts
    to US research and development.

    In initial discussions by the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) it was
    thought likely that consequences would be:
    a) research would slow down significantly due to the need to obtain licenses
    for each foreign national and, particularly, Chinese student, staff member,
    postdoc, or faculty member using export controlled instrumentation. We
    believe that a separate license would have to be obtained for each
    instrument. In this regard, it should be noted that the relevant DOC office
    has the staff to handle about 800-1000 license requests per year. Present
    times to process a license request are typically 2-3 months.
    b) instruments would have to be secured to ensure that those who do not have
    the required license could not use them.
    c) the number of Chinese and other foreign national students would decrease
    markedly as their "second-class" status on campus became apparent, thus
    ultimately weakening the nation's science and technology workforce.
    d) the administrative costs of research would rise markedly.
    e) national security would ultimately be weakened as a consequence of a

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