Restriction of access to sequence data by US Government?

Robert Harper harper at
Thu Apr 11 15:09:11 EST 1991

BMCSAR at (Steve Roberts) writes:
Sr>  I have just received a letter from GCG claiming the the US Government is
Sr>about to impose restrictions on the shipment of biological data overseas.
Sr>I am asked to sign a letter saying that "neither the technical data nor the
Sr>direct products thereof is intended to be shipped, either directly or
Sr>indirectly..." to a long list of countries. We have collaborations with, and
Sr>occasional visitors from, some of these countries (China, Poland, Hungary).

Sr>  This sounds serious, does anyone know more? Are GCG over-reacting? 
Sr> Or is the date of the letter (April 1 1990) significant :-)

Yeah I got a similar letter but I thought it was because Finland is up
near the Soviet border. Anyway I just thought that GCG were acting in
accord with the recommendations of the the US government.

Since the programme is distriuted with source code I expect that they don't
want that to find its way to certain countries. GCG also distributes their
own format of the GenBank/Embl database. It would seem rather odd that
there should be restrictions on sequence data, since many of the COCOM
countries are already on BITNET and can retieve the latest sequences
via E-mail from either Genbank or EMBL.

Perhaps there should be a cross post to INFO-GCG... just who else was
on the receiving end of the letter... was it posted to everyone or just
to those countries with close relationships to COCOM countries?


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