Open Harbor Adds On-Line Restricted Party Screening

BEA Systems, which averages 5,000 software downloads per day on its e-commerce site, is the first user of Open Harbor's Restricted Party Screening Service for e-commerce. BEA elected to use a hosted service which provides e-mail address and Internet provider (IP) screening to ensure a high level of e-commerce security, said Carey Garibay, senior director of sales operations. Customer e-mail addresses are automatically screened to ensure the customer is not associated with a restricted party or located in a country where trade is embargoed. Further screening of the IP address helps avoid the problem of an e-mail address that looks legitimate but originates from a country or party on various government lists of restricted parties. In the case of dual-use products or technology that is restricted, an obvious first step in screening is to look for the suffix .gov or .mil which indicate a government or military purchaser, said Beth Peterson, VP Product Solutions, Open Harbor. But domain names and extensions can be inconclusive, so the system automatically checks the IP address to determine the true origin of the message.

For BEA, the additional screening could not affect its "sub-second" response rate. If it detects a restricted party or some other issue that could lead to a violation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection or other trade rules, it can automatically tell the customer an e-mail message will be sent with details on the order and a link and password to complete the download. In the meantime, it can notify BEA to examine the order and determine whether it can be filled. The system allows exporters to do the due diligence required to avoid violations of restricted party and embargo lists, explains Peterson.

For exporters shipping physical goods instead of software downloads, the system can operate the same way for e-commerce orders. It can also be used to screen regular orders that include an e-mail address. Companies that source overseas and export goods that don't pass through the United States can also screen against restricted party lists.

There are now more than 8,000,000 trade rules for importers and exporters, says Peterson, and the rules are constantly changing. Open Harbor and other trade services companies were busily updating rules in anticipation of the May 1st expansion of the European Union. Ten countries in Eastern Europe are slated to join the EU on that date.

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