U.S. Regulatory Issues

Article excerpt

SAFETY Act. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a second interim rule that would implement the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002, also known as the SAFETY Act. The act is designed to encourage the development and rapid deployment of life-saving antiterrorism technologies by providing manufacturers or sellers with limited liability risks. Under the act, companies will have to submit plans for antiterrorism technology to the government for review to be eligible for liability protection.

The first interim rule took effect on October 16, 2003, and the Department of Homeland Security issued the second interim rule in response to the comments made about the previous rule. This rule answers questions about the conditions under which companies would be protected, the protection of intellectual property, and liability protections for contractors and vendors as well as sellers.

Of the 50 comments to the first rule received by the DHS, several expressed concerns over the lack of a definition of the term "act of terrorism" in the regulations. Without a specific definition, many commenters interpreted an act of terrorism as the "design or intent to cause mass destruction, injury, or other loss to citizens." This could exclude smaller attacks such as car bombs and could prevent products designed to deter smaller-scale terrorist acts from coming to market because the liability protection would not be there. In response to this concern, DHS included the statutory definition of an act of terrorism in the new interim rule. Under this broad definition, terrorism is defined as any act causing harm within the United States or to U.S. citizens in other countries. The definition also covers any "use or attempt to use weapons or other methods designed or intended to cause mass destruction, injury, or other loss."

Similarly, letter writers took issue with language in the regulations that provides protection to companies that sell products that would be deployed during an act of terrorism. …


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