15 November 2016
New Alpha report: examining intangible technology controls
Project Alpha is today releasing a report on Intangible Technology Controls (ITT), examining the utility of ITT in managing the spread of proliferation-relevant technologies.
This paper examines the role of intangible technology controls in controlling the spread of proliferation-relevant technologies. An adapted capability acquisition model is presented in order to provide a tool through which to examine the contribution of intangible technology to proliferation. Using this model, several case studies are examined.
As a result of this examination, it is argued that a broader strategy is required to control intangible technology transfers that could aid proliferation. It is apparent that traditional export control approaches are not sufficient. As a result, new national laws and
international mechanisms might be required. However, adoption of effective mechanisms is likely to prove to be controversial and so there is a need for a risk-based, targeted approach, as well as international cooperation. A new international forum might be required for this purpose, and it is argued that the UN Security Council’s resolution 1540 mechanism might
be well placed to provide this forum.
In parallel to working to put in place a broader strategy, this paper identifies certain specific measures that can be taken in relation to export controls to strengthen controls around
intangible technology transfer.
The paper has two parts. Part 1 applies an adapted capability acquisition model as a tool through which to examine the contribution of intangible technology to proliferation. Part 2 presents the main findings from having applied this model to around 10 case studies.
The report was prepared with funding from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.
The paper can be accessed from the links below.