Conference Presentations Abroad

The rules for conferences are different if the technology being discussed is in the scope of the EAR or the ITAR. Either way, OFAC concerns about restricted parties apply.


  • The EAR considers information released at an open conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or other open gathering to be published, and so excluded from EAR control. 

    • “Open” means that all technically qualified members of the public are eligible to attend and attendees are permitted to take notes or otherwise make a personal record (not necessarily a recording) of the proceedings and presentations. An “open” conference can charge a registration fee reasonably related to cost, and can limit actual attendance, as long as attendees either are the first who have applied or are selected on the basis of relevant scientific or technical competence, experience, or responsibility.


  • The ITAR considers information released through unlimited distribution at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show or exhibition, generally accessible to the public, in the United States to be in the public domain, and so excluded from ITAR control.
  • You can consider information you receive at an open conference to be publicly available information, excluded from export controls.
    • Information in the scope of the ITAR released by a US person at a conference outside the US might not be unambiguously excluded from ITAR control, unless previously or otherwise published in accordance with the ITAR.
  • You can deliver or present the results of your fundamental research in the EAR scope at open conferences, and you can present or deliver other information within the scope of the EAR if you have the right to disclose it (e.g., not constrained by a non-disclosure agreement).
  • You can deliver or present the results of your fundamental research in the ITAR scope at open conferences in the US.
  • Outside the US, you can deliver or present the following information in the ITAR scope
    • General systems description ( such as top-level drawings, top-level narrative descriptions or summaries of performance requirements, key subsystems, top-level block diagrams, top-level description of operational modes, top-level equipment layout drawings, and top-level predictions of power usage or consumption), since this is not considered ITAR technical data (ITAR §120.10(a)(5)).
    • Public domain information, such as published research results or material previously released in a university course, at conferences or meetings outside the US.
    • Caution: when you answer a question or engage in follow-up discussion, you could be providing a defense service (assisting a non-US person with a defense article), because the information you provide is not in the public domain.
    • Items, software, or technical data controlled by ITAR before being received by MIT cannot be released at open conferences.

OFAC Restricted Parties

  • Be aware that some institutions may be identified on one of the U.S. government's restricted party lists (such as OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals list or the Commerce Dept.'s Entity List). This may result in some restrictions (even EAR99 items and technology cannot be transferred to some Entity List organizations), and may also indicate increased attention from enforcement authorities.

Need Help?

Contact the MIT Export Control Compliance Team at, or by phone at 617-253-2762 (Janet Johnston).