Using Restricted Material at MIT

The export control regulations restrict transfer of some software and technology to individuals from certain countries, even if they are in the US. Releasing export-controlled software and technology to a non-US person, even within the US, is “deemed” an export to that person’s country of origin.

Ordinarily, restricted material is not used in research at MIT, in support of the Open Research and Free Interchange of Information Policy. If research requires the use of restricted material, researchers must document how they are keeping the material secure from non-US persons as applicable in a Technology Control Plan, an internal MIT security document. The Technology Control Plan must be approved by the vice president for research. 

Find alternatives to restricted material

If restrictions on material make it impossible to appoint non-US persons to a research project, it may render the work to be non-fundamental research according to the US Government definition. Such work is not appropriate to pursue per MIT policy unless a specific exception is granted by the vice president for research.

The following are not considered restricted material:

  • Information in the public domain or that is publicly available
  • EAR99 technology
  • Tangible items that can be used without obtaining the knowledge needed to reengineer them

Identify restricted material

Identify software and technology being used in research

If software or technology ("know-how") is transferred to a non-US person while in the US, it is “deemed” an export to that person’s country of origin. Export controls apply to “deemed” exports, even if:

  • The material will be used only within the US.
  • The material originated outside the US: once items are brought into the US, they are subject to same export controls as any item already in the US.

“Deemed” exports do not include tangible items, unless it is possible to learn how to reengineer an item just by inspection. In those cases, tangible items are considered technology, and export controls apply. 

Find material classification of software and technology

Review the material classification of the software and technology being used in your research. (Note that if your material falls under the ITAR regulations, it will be highly restricted, and with a few exceptions, non-US persons cannot have access.) Contact MIT Export Control if you have questions.

Create a Technology Control Plan

If using export-controlled software or technology on the MIT campus, you must have an approved Technology Control Plan containing: 

  • description of the restricted material
  • why the restricted material is needed
  • name of the responsible individual
  • names and nationalities of individuals who are permitted to access the restricted material
  • protocol for keeping the restricted material secure

All persons with access should complete the CITI MIT Export Control module (20 minutes).

Submitting a Technology Control Plan

  1. Discuss with MIT Export Control.
  2. Fill out the Technology Control Plan form.
  3. Send form to MIT Export Control to review.
  4. After the MIT Export Control has reviewed, get your DLCI head and Responsible Individual (RI) (that’s you) to sign.
  5. Send signed form to MIT Export Control, who will seek approval and return approved TCP to you.

You will be contacted once a year to see if the plan is still active and to remind you to send any modifications in procedure, location, or personnel with access. The RI is personally responsible for the protection of the restricted material and for informing the MIT Export Control promptly of any changes to the plan.

Dispose of restricted material 

To close out your Technology Control Plan (TCP), restricted material must be removed from campus, destroyed, or transferred to another DLCI with an approved TCP.

  • Remove material, data, or software stored on a computer or internet server, including hidden files and information. Merely deleting the file is not sufficient. If you are unfamiliar with data removal and computer sanitization procedures, please contact IS&T at
  • Remove or destroy tangible equipment, material, data, or software.  Contact the MIT Property Office at for assistance. 

Following removal or destruction of the restricted material, contact MIT Export Control to formally terminate your TCP.