With an increased risk of malicious use of innovative dual-use technologies from the Baltics, the Innovators Next Door tech security initiative brings together industry, civil society and government stakeholders to strengthen the policy, practice, and cross-sector networks that protect the Baltic high-tech sector. The Project is coordinated by Motive International, a US social enterprise, with the support of the U.S. Department of State and the Latvian and Lithuanian Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Participating experts at Project events have included representatives from NATO, the European Defense Fund, FedTech, the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, and the West Point Robotics Center.
On October 5 and 6 2022, Sorainen experts Auksė Trapnauskaitė, Danas Šniutė, Sidas Sokolovas and Vaiva Mašidlauskienė advised participants in the Innovators Next Door game-based exercise event held in Vilnius. A week later, on October 11 and 12 2022, Katrīne Pļaviņa-Mika, Edvīns Draba, Jūlija Terjuhana, Katrīna Bičevska and Sofia Kurochka took part in the Innovators Next Door Latvian edition in Riga. Lawyers from Sorainen’s Estonian office will also be involved in the Project in 2023.
During the tabletop exercise, the industry and government stakeholders were presented with six injects, each of which describe a specific story that compels them to make decisions and react in response. The injects involved export promotion and opportunities to facilitate foreign investment in the regional tech sector but involved a certain degree of risk of malign military application of dual-use technologies. Based on the experience gained, the participants developed real-world recommendations on policy and regulatory context, cross-sector collaboration, and best practices and opportunities for industry and academia.
The key recommendations for technology producers:
- Adopt a company-wide Internal Compliance Programme (ICP) setting a framework for dual-use and sensitive technology protection, compliance, and employee training.
- Maintain a list of the company`s technologies and components, with information on each item’s current status on export control, sanctions, and strategic goods lists.
- Conduct “Know Your Customer” (KYC) due diligence, investor/employee background checks, cyber security, and export licence compliance.
In 2022, Sorainen established a Defence sector group, aiming to assist clients with various matters, from obtaining special permits and licenses, to export or import of military and dual-use goods, to participating in tenders in both the public and the private sector, to negotiating sensitive contracts. This exercise was a great opportunity for us to participate as experts in the hands-on training and to apply our knowledge in practice, as well as to find out more about various aspects of the defence and technology sectors.