Internet-trading platforms and proliferation: still work to be done

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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’.

Project Alpha’s analysis of online trade in proliferation-sensitive dual-use goods has featured in outlets including The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Bloomberg Business.

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: