Why it matters: The artificial intelligence company SenseTime’s strategy to bypass those measures shows how companies deemed national security risks — or accused of complicity in human rights abuses — can bypass U.S. restrictions.
How it works: Entity List restrictions, designed in part to punish “activities contrary to U.S. national security and/or foreign policy interests,” apply only to the specific companies named by BIS — not to their parent or sister firms.
Between the lines: It’s not clear precisely what portions of SenseTime’s business are controlled by its Beijing subsidiary versus its sister companies.
What they’re saying: “Beijing SenseTime’s placement on the Entity List was the result of information available to the Department of Commerce and the End User Review Committee,” a Commerce spokesperson told Axios.
A tweak to U.S. export restrictions is letting a prominent Chinese tech company sidestep measures designed to punish the firm over its alleged involvement in the repression of Muslims within the country, records show.
The backstory: In 2019, the Commerce Department added SenseTime to its Entity List, barring it from doing business with large swaths of U.S. companies absent a license.
The big picture: The company’s addition to the Entity List came after the New York Times reported it had provided facial recognition software to Chinese authorities who used it to monitor Uyghurs in Xinjiang.