United States law limits the export of certain technologies, including both actual equipment and knowledge about the equipment and processes. The list of technologies extends beyond the obvious military items and can include seemingly innocuous items such as laptop computers. The list of restricted destinations also extends beyond the obvious countries and includes transfer of knowledge to individuals from certain countries that may actually be in the U.S. on legitimate visas.
All institutions of higher education and their faculty, staff and students must comply with these laws. In case of violation, criminal sanctions (including substantial fines and even prison terms) can be applied.