Author Topic: Dept Of Justice Investigating SpaceX For Not Hiring Non-US Citizens  (Read 47719 times)

Offline Star One

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There’s technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, it’s overly broad and I don’t blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

I run an ITAR shop, I wouldn't hire a non citizen without extensive discussions with lawyers first.
Yup. I only hire interns (in an ITAR relevant context), but same deal. Stuff is considered unreleasable to the public without first getting approval by the lawyers. Imagine trying to get approval from lawyers for every thing you shared with someone you hired.
It seems a bit bonkers to have a law where a potential employer feels they have to consult lawyers before deciding to hire someone. Really that should be the employers choice not a team of lawyers.

Offline Khadgars

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

I run an ITAR shop, I wouldn't hire a non citizen without extensive discussions with lawyers first.
Yup. I only hire interns (in an ITAR relevant context), but same deal. Stuff is considered unreleasable to the public without first getting approval by the lawyers. Imagine trying to get approval from lawyers for every thing you shared with someone you hired.
It seems a bit bonkers to have a law where a potential employer feels they have to consult lawyers before deciding to hire someone. Really that should be the employers choice not a team of lawyers.

Not when it comes to National security, which ITAR covers.
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Sam Ho

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The complaint appears to be that they require any employee to be a US Citizen. That is different than the US Person requirement referred to by Tory. The later merely means that a person has a permanent residence in the US. In that case, you need to be careful that the company can show they turned up some suspicious activity or problems that could leave them vulnerable to be made a spy.
The headline does not reflect the text of the complaint.  The policy is US Person.
Quote
The charge alleges that on or about March 10, 2020, during the Charging Partyís interview for the position of Technology Strategy Associate, SpaceX made inquiries about his citizenship status and ultimately failed to hire him for the position because he is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Offline Frogstar_Robot

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How easy would that be for the British person mentioned in that Tweet?

How on Earth would anyone know that apart from the individual concerned??

It sounds like you are asking us to dox someone. A definite no no.
Huh it was a genuine question. Stop looking for malicious intent when there isnít one.

"Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence".
Rule 1: Be civil. Respect other members.
Rule 3: No "King of the Internet" attitudes.

Offline Jansen

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Quote
The DOJís Immigrant and Employee Rights Section said it received a complaint of employment discrimination from a non-U.S. citizen in May and said SpaceX refused to comply with a subpoena for relevant documents related to hiring.

Just wanted to point out that the complaint and investigation go all the way back to May last year. Itís only making headlines now due to the information being subpoenaed.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2021 04:19 pm by Jansen »

Offline Robotbeat

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

I run an ITAR shop, I wouldn't hire a non citizen without extensive discussions with lawyers first.
Yup. I only hire interns (in an ITAR relevant context), but same deal. Stuff is considered unreleasable to the public without first getting approval by the lawyers. Imagine trying to get approval from lawyers for every thing you shared with someone you hired.
It seems a bit bonkers to have a law where a potential employer feels they have to consult lawyers before deciding to hire someone. Really that should be the employers choice not a team of lawyers.
Thatís ITAR.

Heck, thatís immigration law generally. It can be pretty tough to hire someone whoís not at least a permanent resident even *without* ITAR.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline SWGlassPit

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Like the other folks here, I'm having trouble identifying where SpaceX is in the wrong here. 

Online DigitalMan

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Rather than handing over any employee information, if besides ITAR, SpaceX is bound by DOD/NASA contract requirements, why not refer DOJ to DOD/NASA general counsel?

Offline ncb1397

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

So, like talking missiles with your North Korean pen pal is freedom of speech?

Online steveleach

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Like the other folks here, I'm having trouble identifying where SpaceX is in the wrong here.
If the DOJ has a legitimate need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law then SpaceX is in the wrong. If there was no legitimate need then they weren't.

The courts will decide which it is, presumably.

Offline Robotbeat

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There’s technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, it’s overly broad and I don’t blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

So, like talking missiles with your North Korean pen pal is freedom of speech?
Frakking everything can be covered under ITAR. A non-private gun show which shows how all the guns work, unless it’s asking for citizenship papers at the door (yay, freedum), is potentially in violation unless all material inside has been cleared by lawyers. And that’s obvious because that’s actual arms. But algorithms, materials, manufacturing processes, etc... can be covered.

A YouTube video by a hobbyist showing how he made his rocket gimbal (hi, Joe Barnard) could potentially be considered in violation. All those detailed gun enthusiast videos. All kinds of stuff.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2021 01:17 am by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline punder

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

So, like talking missiles with your North Korean pen pal is freedom of speech?
Wow, that was  quite a leap you took there. Reminds me of some of your other rebuttals.

Just curious, how did you get from a general opinion that ITAR isnít perfect, to handing industrial secrets to North Korea?

Online M.E.T.

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Well, the pile on against SpaceX seems at a frenzy at the moment. Either that or the media is trying to hype it up from all angles as usual.

Anyway, bring it on. SpaceX will deal with all these petty obstacles and roll on - at mind boggling pace, as always. The future will not wait for anyone.

Offline Vanspace

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Like the other folks here, I'm having trouble identifying where SpaceX is in the wrong here.
If the DOJ has a legitimate need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law then SpaceX is in the wrong. If there was no legitimate need then they weren't.

The courts will decide which it is, presumably.

Maybe conflicting authorities.

If the DOJ has a legitimate legal need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law

and

If the DoD has a legitimate legal need to restrict information about arms technology secrets and who has it.

Then

SpaceX tells the DoJ to subpoena and let a judge decide who wins. In such a case, it is the only path forward.


I strongly suspect this to be the case. In the years since EEOC laws and ITAR laws were enacted, I can't think of ANY company that has hired so many people in such a short span exclusively under ITAR. When it was a few hundred ITAR people into a company the size of Boeing, I can understand the DoJ accepting the US Person wording while ignoring the Citizen Only reality . But if all the employees are hired under ITAR then it effectively prevents the DoJ from ever investigating employment violations. On the other hand if the DoJ wins then DoD would never be able to keep projects secret or restricted to citizens only.

I can't see the Department of Justice allowing a highly visible company employing thousands of people to be immune to employment law. I also can't see the Department of Defence allowing the wholesale ID of employees with secret information. The only other solution would be for the DoD to acknowledge that ITAR does not apply to what SpaceX is doing.
"p can not equal zero" is the only scientific Truth. I could be wrong (p<0.05)

Offline dondar

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Like the other folks here, I'm having trouble identifying where SpaceX is in the wrong here.
nothing.
The case was a pretext to go full "SEC" on SpaceX and to bombard with information requests in order to investigate "general practices". It is as bollocks as it gets.

Offline dondar

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Like the other folks here, I'm having trouble identifying where SpaceX is in the wrong here.
If the DOJ has a legitimate need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law then SpaceX is in the wrong. If there was no legitimate need then they weren't.

The courts will decide which it is, presumably.

Maybe conflicting authorities.

If the DOJ has a legitimate legal need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law

and

If the DoD has a legitimate legal need to restrict information about arms technology secrets and who has it.

Then

SpaceX tells the DoJ to subpoena and let a judge decide who wins. In such a case, it is the only path forward.


I strongly suspect this to be the case. In the years since EEOC laws and ITAR laws were enacted, I can't think of ANY company that has hired so many people in such a short span exclusively under ITAR. When it was a few hundred ITAR people into a company the size of Boeing, I can understand the DoJ accepting the US Person wording while ignoring the Citizen Only reality . But if all the employees are hired under ITAR then it effectively prevents the DoJ from ever investigating employment violations. On the other hand if the DoJ wins then DoD would never be able to keep projects secret or restricted to citizens only.

I can't see the Department of Justice allowing a highly visible company employing thousands of people to be immune to employment law. I also can't see the Department of Defence allowing the wholesale ID of employees with secret information. The only other solution would be for the DoD to acknowledge that ITAR does not apply to what SpaceX is doing.
dude, reguesting "general" information implies reasonable suspicions about "general" wrongdoing.
Is there?

Requesting information which has limited time validity or is forbidden to keep (copies of specific personal ID  documents) is typical trolling which has to be handled accordingly.
National security regulations in all "norminal" countries have beside other things strong wording about protection of the specialists' identity. (that's beside general rules).
 I hope SpaceX will push back hard.
At least your country has a company which is not afraid not to line up with "accepted realities".

 Regrettably we will hear nothing about because the final news with SpaceX winning will generate as much news as very similar news about Tesla had. That is none.

Offline Robotbeat

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It’s a fishing expedition. The case is without merit because of SpaceX’s very real & obvious national security constraints. The only thing they could hope to find is that SpaceX has made occasional exceptions for extremely rare talent (like for instance some world-class metallurgy expert that they work with to get permanent status or assign lawyers specifically to handle the ITARness with that one employee), and then try to get SpaceX to play defense making the legal case for that exception. Again, fishing expedition.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2021 03:36 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Vanspace

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Like the other folks here, I'm having trouble identifying where SpaceX is in the wrong here.
If the DOJ has a legitimate need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law then SpaceX is in the wrong. If there was no legitimate need then they weren't.

The courts will decide which it is, presumably.

Maybe conflicting authorities.

If the DOJ has a legitimate legal need for the information they requested in order to investigate a potential violation of employment law

and

If the DoD has a legitimate legal need to restrict information about arms technology secrets and who has it.

Then

SpaceX tells the DoJ to subpoena and let a judge decide who wins. In such a case, it is the only path forward.


I strongly suspect this to be the case. In the years since EEOC laws and ITAR laws were enacted, I can't think of ANY company that has hired so many people in such a short span exclusively under ITAR. When it was a few hundred ITAR people into a company the size of Boeing, I can understand the DoJ accepting the US Person wording while ignoring the Citizen Only reality . But if all the employees are hired under ITAR then it effectively prevents the DoJ from ever investigating employment violations. On the other hand if the DoJ wins then DoD would never be able to keep projects secret or restricted to citizens only.

I can't see the Department of Justice allowing a highly visible company employing thousands of people to be immune to employment law. I also can't see the Department of Defence allowing the wholesale ID of employees with secret information. The only other solution would be for the DoD to acknowledge that ITAR does not apply to what SpaceX is doing.
dude, reguesting "general" information implies reasonable suspicions about "general" wrongdoing.
Is there?

Requesting information which has limited time validity or is forbidden to keep (copies of specific personal ID  documents) is typical trolling which has to be handled accordingly.
National security regulations in all "norminal" countries have beside other things strong wording about protection of the specialists' identity. (that's beside general rules).
 I hope SpaceX will push back hard.
At least your country has a company which is not afraid not to line up with "accepted realities".

 Regrettably we will hear nothing about because the final news with SpaceX winning will generate as much news as very similar news about Tesla had. That is none.

I think you missed the point.

ITAR makes it the law to only hire citizens.
EEOC makes it the law to NOT only hire citizens.
ITAR makes employee ID a secret
EEOC requires the release of employee IDs
SpaceX must follow both.
So it goes to the judge. No suspicions, no wrong doing needed.

The case itself is probably irrelevant, the issue becomes how to actually follow the laws.

Is the document request a "fishing expedition"? Not really, its just the initial investigatory request, like the cops asking for all the video of an "alleged" crime. Even if everyone involved knows its bull, if you refuse to hand over the video for any reason you will be subpoenaed.
"p can not equal zero" is the only scientific Truth. I could be wrong (p<0.05)

Offline Jorge

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ITAR makes it the law to only hire citizens.

No. ITAR makes it the law to only disclose ITAR-controlled information to "US Persons".

See:
https://exportcompliancesolutions.com/blog/2018/09/20/u-s-persons-include-just-citizens/

US Persons include more than just citizens. In the above example, Clifford Chance US LLP was fined $132,000 and faced other penalties for excluding non-citizens from ITAR-controlled positions.

Companies (including SpaceX) hiring for ITAR-controlled projects advertise the US Person restriction prominently on their job postings.
https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/5058962002?gh_jid=5058962002
Quote from: SpaceX
ITAR REQUIREMENTS:

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.
JRF

Offline Robotbeat

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ITAR makes it the law to only hire citizens.

No. ITAR makes it the law to only disclose ITAR-controlled information to "US Persons".

See:
https://exportcompliancesolutions.com/blog/2018/09/20/u-s-persons-include-just-citizens/

US Persons include more than just citizens. In the above example, Clifford Chance US LLP was fined $132,000 and faced other penalties for excluding non-citizens from ITAR-controlled positions.

Companies (including SpaceX) hiring for ITAR-controlled projects advertise the US Person restriction prominently on their job postings.
https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/5058962002?gh_jid=5058962002
Quote from: SpaceX
ITAR REQUIREMENTS:

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.
In this case, the person was denied employment because they werenít a US person, not just that they werenít a US citizen. So the original post still works as long as you substitute permanent resident instead of citizen
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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