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Classifying knowledge, creating secrets: Government policy for dual-use technology

Government Secrecy

ISBN: 978-0-85724-389-8, eISBN: 978-0-85724-390-4

Publication date: 26 January 2011


This chapter analyzes the construction of secrecy under the current U.S. export control regime for dual-use technologies and discusses its application for two technologies: research on a class of semiconductors used in military and civilian applications and biotechnology research on select agents. We argue that the assignment of technologies and countries to categories controlled under the export regime is an exercise in creating secret knowledge, in which the broad category of “the other” is subdivided between those who are forbidden to know and those who are not (and thus implicitly are qualified to become a party to the secret). We draw attention to the social cost of errors made in applying these categories, and point to some remaining issues.



Felbinger, J. and Reppy, J. (2011), "Classifying knowledge, creating secrets: Government policy for dual-use technology", Maret, S. (Ed.) Government Secrecy (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 277-299.



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