In the episode(s) Flesh and Blood, Janeway states that they had to trade technology to survive in the Delta Quadrant, however in the beginning of the Voyager series I thought it was strictly forbidden for Starfleet to give technology to other species as it would change the balance of power in the sector.

Am I mistaken or is there certain protocols in Starfleet which allow trade/sharing of technology with certain species? A phaser traded for another phaser may not make much different, however trading a replicator to a society which has never had one can alter the balance of power as replicators can manufacture weapons as well.

Could someone clarify?

  • As I recall the Voyager crew was often asked to trade technology to less-advanced civilizations, and typically refused because of the Prime Directive. I do vaguely remember them trading with at least one species, but I can't remember any details Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 21:42
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    I also remember in "Think Tank", Janeway mentioned that "the replicators are very popular this year". But in Season 1 Janeway refused to share the transporter technology with the Kazon even though they are warp-capable species. Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 21:46
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    Janeway compromises her morals and starfleet regulations many times due to their situation.
    – user16696
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 1:57
  • Voyager did seem to be in the position of being greatly in need (resources), having a lot to offer (technology), yet somehow trading enough to get by without actually giving up anything of real value - usually because of the "Prime Directive". Somehow it never quite added up for me.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 4:29

1 Answer 1


OP is actually asking two related but different questions, one in the title and another in the question body.

ANSWER TO TITLE QUESTION: Yes, Janeway did trade technology with other races.

A prominent instance is "The Killing Game" (part 2), and Janeway's actions in that episode directly lead to the events in the episode cited by OP. In "The Killing Game", Janeway offers the Hirogen holodeck emitters in trade for...well...their lives. Crew members were being maimed over and over again by the Hirogen, who had taken over Voyager and had been using the crew as game for hunting. Janeway's decision was a reaction to extenuating circumstances, but she must have also weighed the potential consequences and concluded (at the time) that any negative outcomes would be minimal. Furthermore, the Hirogen were a warp capable species and the technology was not one with direct military capabilities. This brings us to OP's second question.

ANSWER TO QUESTION IN BODY: Yes, there are rules that prohibit exchange of technology, in many circumstances.

Starfleet officers are not allowed to exchange technology with, or offer technology to, pre-warp societies. Starfleet officers are also prohibited from sharing technology that could upset the balance between two or more powers. Thirdly, Starfleet officers are not allowed to offer technology to non-aligned regimes, and especially not to regimes hostile to the Federation (e.g. to the Romulans).

Interference in the societies and cultures of others, whether it be by the introduction of foreign technology or by any other means, is strictly prohibited by the Prime Directive.

The third scenario I mentioned (sharing with non-aligned worlds and hostiles) can also be classed as treason under laws protecting Federation and Starfleet security. This type of scenario is dealt with in the TNG episodes "The Drumhead" and "The Next Phase", for instance. In the former, an investigation and trial occur aboard the Enterprise, and one aspect has to do with whether or not a medical officer had collaborated in supplying Enterprise engineering schematics to the Romulans. In the latter episode, the Enterprise offers a computer core to a damaged Romulan War Bird — but one that is 30-40 years old, to avoid compromising Starfleet security.

  • The fallout from that is the episode mentioned in the question. It's all that pops into mind for me, though...
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 23:05
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    Pre-warp is not the end-point of the prime directive. The prime directive is a prohibition on meddling with the internal affairs of any other culture. It just happens to be that being an alien to pre-warp cultures inherently meddles with their internal affairs. Sharing technology with any NON ALIGNED world is a violation of the prime directive.
    – Tritium21
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:53
  • @Tritium21 : OP is asking about technology, and so I am only responding with regards to how the Prime Directive governs technology sharing --- not other forms of meddling. I don't claim that these are end-points of the Directive. I'll edit to clarify about non-aligned vs. hostile.
    – Praxis
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 4:07
  • The point is that the prime directive prevents the sharing of technology with the Borg as much as it does with pre-warp societies.
    – Tritium21
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 16:23
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    An exceptional answer, now
    – Tritium21
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 17:00

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