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On June 8, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") finalized a rule that would strengthen certain protections extended to sellers of both qualified antiterrorism technologies ("QATTs") and "certified"/"approved" QATTs under the Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (the "SAFETY Act" or the "Act").

The SAFETY Act was made into law in 2002, according to DHS' website, "to encourage the development and deployment of anti-terrorism technologies that will substantially enhance the protection of the nation."  More specifically, it puts in place incentives for technology companies to get involved in the global war on terror by immunizing those companies from certain kinds of liability if they are sued as a result of an entity's use of the technology in responding to a terrorist act.  However, as the Federal Contracts Reporter noted on June 13, 2006, the law "was criticized by industry and bar groups for failing to go far enough in protecting proprietary information, and for creating an unduly burdensome application process."

This final rule is intended to beef up the SAFETY Act by, among other things, including a determination that if a QATT is modified in a way that does not alter its designation as such, that QATT will not lose the limitations of liability initially provided by the Act.  In addition, the rule establishes a process for agencies to issue a "Pre-Qualification Designation Notice" before the agency has secured a final SAFETY Act designation.

This update is published by Venable LLP. Venable publications are not intended to provide legal advice or opinion. Such advice may only be given when related to specific fact situations. © Copyright by Venable LLP 2006.