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The US Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) , with which the US government defines a series of restrictions for the import and export of ‘emerging technologies’, has been in effect since February 2018. It applies to all countries worldwide, with the exception of Canada. Since the beginning of January 2020, the regulations have also been effective for some special forms of AI software.

According to the US government’s definition , programs that provide a graphical user interface and are suitable for training neural networks that read information from satellite images and digital surface models are affected. As examples of such information, the US government cites vehicles and houses that the software recognizes in positive and negative images. The US government fears that the programs in question could be exploited for automatic target recognition (ATR) in the military sector.