Posted by John McHale
Before I left for the Paris Air Show earlier this month a friend in the industry said I should expect all my phone calls -- cellular or other -- to be listened to and expect all my emails to be read.
I said are you serious? Who wants to know what an innocent trade pub editor has to say to his office?
Apparently this gentleman instructs all his employees before leaving the country to be on their guard about revealing information on military technology that could be of value to foreign governments. Electronic surveillance is everywhere.
Aside from what a government might pick up, companies must also be sensitive to what their own country's watchdogs are looking for. The U.S. State Department is very strict about what can and can't be said overseas regarding U.S. military technology. These rules fall under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Many exhibitors at the Paris Air Show were touting their import/export compliance rules to their staff at the event. FLIR even made up a brochure to give to all their employees outlining the rules for when they were in Paris.
The State Department "was impressed with how organized we were," said FLIR’s vice president of marketing, David Strong, during the show.
It's a paranoid time and U.S. companies and government agencies must be on their guard about what they say or write about their technology.