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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, of course it makes those exceptions; my point is that all other aspects of military technology would therefore not be covered by the Bill. Consequently, as I said, an academic could transfer such information to other countries without restriction. To have that written into this Export Control Bill, which seeks to stop that kind of military information going abroad, seems to me a complete nonsense. The Liberal Democrat Party has pushed strongly to tighten up the Bill to make it tougher for this technology to go abroad. It has pushed for even tighter restrictions on technology being sent abroad to be used in the way we are discussing. For it then to say that a group of people should not be subject to that control seems to me to make a complete nonsense of the Bill and to go in two completely different directions at the same time.
Subsection (4) of the proposed amendment would also prevent the Government from implementing their proposed controls on weapons of mass destruction in full, and in particular from meeting their commitments enshrined in the European Union Joint Action on technical assistance to weapons of mass destruction programmes agreed in September 2000. A primary purpose of that joint action was to address the question of supply to weapons of mass destruction programmes by persons moving outside the EU.
I turn now to Amendment No. 4. This would prevent the Government from introducing any controls on transfers of technology within the UK where the technology transferred was intended for use outside the UK and would also prevent introduction of controls on transfers of information into the UK where the technology concerned was intended for use outside the UK. Perhaps it may be useful if I begin by explaining why these powers were included in the Bill.
Essentially these provisions are about the export of technology. I think all accept that it is right that an export licence should be required for certain technology such as blueprints and manuals which describe how to build a weapon. Again I think it is generally accepted that if you need a licence to export that technology in physical form, you should also need a licence to export it electronically. But technologyby which essentially we mean knowledgecan also in effect be exported through communications in person. An expert going overseas and drawing up a manual there or directly instructing someone is effectively exporting technology. Again I think that has been accepted as an activity which may be subject to control. But the same expert might communicate exactly the same information to the identical person while in the United Kingdom, or he might telephone that person in the UK while overseas himself. Should that be permitted simply because the location of the individuals is different when exactly the same information is communicated between the same people?
Paragraphs 2(2)(c) and 2(2)(d) of the Bill are included in order to prevent controls being avoided in this way. It is important to note that these paragraphs of the Bill do not provide a general power to control transfers of technology within the UK or from
We recognise that regulating these types of transfers is difficult; that is why we have made clear that the controls we introduce under these provisions in the Bill will be targeted on the areas of greatest concern: namely, weapons of mass destruction and related missile programmes. But we believe that these controls are extremely important in fighting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, these proposals were strongly supported by the Quadripartite Committee in another place, which described them in its report on the draft Bill as "profoundly significant".
It is worth stopping a moment to consider what the effect of removing paragraphs 2(2)(c) and 2(2)(d) from the Bill would be in terms of our proposed controls relating to weapons of mass destruction. A UK citizen might know that he could not legally communicate technology relevant to the development of weapons of mass destruction while abroad to a particular individual because he knew of that person's links to a weapons of mass destruction programme. But he would be free to communicate the same information to that person if that person came to the UK. He might do that either in person or by communicating with the proliferator from abroad. I feel sure that the noble Baroness's intention is not to create that kind of loophole.
In conclusion, these amendments would have severe consequences for the Government's proposed controls. The controls set out in the draft dummy orders published last October on the transfer of technology for use in connection with weapons of mass destruction programmeswith which Universities UK has said it is happycould not be introduced. Neither could our proposed controls on electronic transfers of military technology be introduced in full. The Government simply cannot accept an amendment which would create such huge loopholes in the proposed legislation. An effective export control regime inevitably involves imposing restrictions on certain activities. Although I emphasise that we anticipate the impact on the academic community of these restrictions to be minimal, we maintain strongly that they are necessary.
It is nevertheless possible to provide effective protection for freedom to publish and communicate information in the public domain on the face of the Bill, and Amendment No. 22 will do that. We believe that our amendment strikes the correct balance
Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, my amendment may not be perfect but it could certainly be put right at Third Reading. That would be the appropriate thing to do. The issue of academic freedom is a strong one and I have laid my wares on the table. There is no point in saying anything further. I wish to test the opinion of the House.
Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.