Is the UN sharing technology illegally with Iran?

is the un sharing technology illegally with iran wipoHas the United Nations been ignoring its own sanctions against assisting the improvement of technology that could be used in the creation or development of a nuclear program in Iran? According to US officials, the answer might be yes… and they’re going to be the ones to find out for sure.

There is concern that the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization has – whether knowingly or otherwise – been disobeying UN-imposed sanctions concerning the sharing of technology that could potentially be used for the possible construction of nuclear weapons with organizations or individuals within Iran. The UN Security Council imposed the sanctions in 2006, announcing that all member states should, effective immediately, “prevent the supply, sale or transfer, for the use by or benefit of Iran, of related equipment and technology, if the State determined that such items would contribute to enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy-water related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.”

Unfortunately, WIPO doesn’t seem to be doing that. According to US State Department spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala, “The State Department first became aware of a WIPO development project in Iran in early May, while conducting a review of all WIPO projects in countries under UN Security Council sanctions. We have received several projects documents and are reviewing them.”

The problem may be rooted in what technology can be considered “related” to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. WIPO has a United Nations mandate of its own, after all, to “promote the protection of intellectual property through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations, [ensure] that all countries are able to benefit from the use of IP for economic, social and cultural development.” As WIPO points out, “implied in this [mandate] are the notions of balance, accessibility and reward for creativity and innovation,” and it’s specifically the notion of accessibility that it was seeking to address with the technology sharing that has landed it in such hot water.

After meeting WIPO’s needs-assessment and validation requirements, both Iran and North Korea – another country facing UN Security Council sanctions – have been the beneficiaries of “standard information-technology equipment” sharing, according to the organization. WIPO’s legal counsel, Edward Kwakwa, confirmed as such when asked by Bloomberg, offering a statement that explained that the organization’s equipment “did not include the type of technology or training prohibited by the UN Security Council resolutions for the said countries.”

Others aren’t convinced by that defense, however; not only the US State Department has announced that it is looking into what, exactly, happened between WIPO and Iran, but the issue has also been raised in the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. For its part, Kwakwa explained, WIPO will try harder not to ignore sanctions from its own governing body in future: “In light of concerns expressed recently,” he said, “WIPO will in the future systematically refer relevant cases of technical assistance to countries under a UN sanctions regime to the UN Sanctions Committee.”


5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Emerging Tech

Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

Scientists from Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a system which can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen by dissolving carbon dioxide in an aqueous solution.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

Always have way too many tabs open? Google Chrome might finally help

Google is one step closer to bringing tab groups to its Chrome browser. The feature is now available in Google's Chrome Canady build with an early implementation that can be enabled through its flag system.