Nonproliferation goals are in danger of being undermined by online trade in proliferation-related goods. Project Alpha is pleased to be working with governments, international organisations and the private sector in addressing this problem of ‘weapons of mass e-commerce’.
Our work in identifying potential proliferation channels on Internet-trading platforms and assisting e-commerce sites to manage their compliance obligations is ongoing.
In particular, we commend Alibaba for having removed several US- and EU-sanctioned entities from their website. This is a strong first step towards improving compliance and combatting proliferation.
Other Internet-trading platforms, particularly those based in China, have yet to follow Alibaba’s lead in removing known proliferators from their sites. A review by Project Alpha found that at least 15 China-based e-commerce sites still host adverts belonging to serial proliferator Li Fang Wei (aka Karl Lee), despite his public designation as a supplier to Iran’s missile programme.
For further information, see the following resources:
- Internet-trading platforms: Making it easier to get around sanctions? The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 31 December 2014.
- Biotechnology E-commerce: A Disruptive Challenge to Biological Arms Control, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, March 2015.