21 June 2004
18 June 2004
Department of Homeland Security on application of SAFETY Act
The Department of Homeland Security issued a fact sheet June 18 explaining the application and evaluation processes of the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (SAFETY Act).
The act is designed to encourage the development and deployment of anti-terrorism technologies by providing sellers of the technologies with liability protection from lawsuits based on "claims arising out of, relating to, or resulting from an act of terrorism."
The department is working with businesses to facilitate the application process and improve the process for providing "significant benefits."
Following is the Department of Homeland Security fact sheet:
(begin fact sheet)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
June 18, 2004
Contact: Press Office Donald Tighe 202-282-8010
SAFETY ACT: PARTNERING WITH AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURS IN DEVELOPING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO PROTECT THE HOMELAND
On October 10, 2003, Secretary Tom Ridge signed the Interim Rule of the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002 to begin the implementation of the program.
The Act is designed to encourage the development and rapid deployment of Anti-Terrorism Technologies (ATTs) by providing sellers of qualified anti-terrorism technologies with liability protection from lawsuits.
Specifically, the SAFETY Act creates certain liability limitations for "claims arising out of, relating to, or resulting from an act of terrorism" where qualified ATTs have been deployed.
Because there are many technologies that are important to protect our homeland, the SAFETY Act Designation and Certification are intended to support effective technologies that will prevent, detect, identify or deter acts of terrorism or mitigate the harm that such acts might otherwise cause.
The Application Process
While the application process is detailed, the Department began receiving completed applications within two weeks of announcing the Interim Rule. Initial reports are that it takes most businesses between 60 and 110 hours to fully complete the application. In order to assist businesses in completing their applications, the Department encourages all businesses to consider submitting a Pre-Application form. This will provide several benefits to businesses, because DHS will:
Provide feedback to help each business determine what to address and emphasize in the full application;
Provide feedback that may identify potential limitations and shortfalls in the existing supporting data and evidence early in the process, which might prompt additional studies or testing.
In some cases, the Pre-Application may serve to alert DHS to potentially important technologies that may warrant further attention.
DHS has reduced the level of financial detail required on the current application from the level required on the first generation of applications. The Department continues to listen to the concerns of businesses and is working to make the application process as least-burdensome as possible.
The Evaluation Process
Pre-Applications will be reviewed within 21 days and a non-binding overall rating for Designation and/or Certification of promising, doubtful or uncertain will be given to assist businesses in determining how to proceed with the full Application process.
Within 30 days of submitting the full Application, DHS will review it and either request more information or will notify the seller that the Application is complete and will be submitted for evaluation. Within 90 days of receipt of the full Application, the Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs and Budget for DHS will recommend to the Under Secretary for Science and Technology with the ATT should be approved or rejected for Designation and/or Certification. The Assistant Secretary may also report to the Under Secretary that the ATT could potentially receive a Designation and/or Certification but that more information is needed to complete the evaluation. The Assistant Secretary may extend the review period beyond 90 days upon notice to the Applicant.
Within 30 days after receiving a recommendation from the Assistant Secretary,
the Under Secretary will approve or deny the Application, or notify the Seller
that the ATT is potentially eligible for a Designation / Certification, but
that more information is required to make a decision. The Under Secretary
may extend the review period beyond 30 days upon notice to the Applicant.
The Under Secretary's decision to accept or reject the Application is final.
It is not subject to review, except at the Under Secretary's discretion.
Instructions for communications with DHS after your Application is either
accepted or rejected will be provided at the time you are informed of the
Benefits to Business
The SAFETY Act provides significant benefits to qualified sellers of Anti-Terrorism Technologies, including:
Exclusive jurisdiction in federal court for suits against the Sellers of "qualified anti-terrorism technologies";
A limitation on the liability of Sellers of qualified ATTs to an amount of liability insurance coverage specified for each individual technology, provided that Sellers will not be required to obtain any more liability insurance coverage than is reasonably available "at prices and terms that will not unreasonably distort the sales price" of the technology;
A prohibition on joint and several liability for non-economic damages, so that Sellers can only be liable for that percentage of non-economic damages proportionate to their responsibility for the harm;
A complete bar on punitive damages and prejudgment interest;
A reduction of plaintiffs' recovery by amounts that plaintiffs received from "collateral sources", such as insurance benefits or other government benefits;
And a rebuttal presumption that the Seller is entitled to the "government contractor defense."
(end fact sheet)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)