fredag, juni 19, 2009

Microsoft & Sanktioner

Från NIAC;

For the first time in history, ordinary citizens have taken it upon themselves to report news instantaneously, spreading information to all the corners of the world online via Twitter. Though internet connectivity in Iran has been somewhat spotty, Iranians have been able to chat with the outside world to give an accurate account of the events on the ground.

This firsthand perspective is even more important given the crackdown on foreign journalists, many of whom have had their equipment confiscated and even a few of whom have been detained by the authorities.

So I am struck by the tragic irony, then, of a story we reported on recently here at niacINsight, about how Microsoft has blocked its instant messaging service in Iran, citing its interpretation of US sanctions laws. The US Treasury has made it clear that transfers of informational materials are allowed:

The receipt or transmission of postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other personal communications, which does not involve the transfer of anything of value, between the United States and Iran is authorized

We’ve spoken to OFAC, who said that Microsoft did this without any prompting from them, and that they are discussing the matter with Microsoft officials. (We’re also reaching out to them as well).

At a time like this, it sure would be nice to be able to have as much access as possible to the Iranians on the ground, letting them tell the world what is actually going on. It’s a shame that they have to fight against their own government’s repression and censorship and at the same time struggle with America’s attempt to isolate the Iranian regime at the expense of its people.

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