(The Hosting News) – The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released a General License authorizing the export of personal communications hardware, software, and services to Sudan. Updating the Sudan sanctions program will make it easier for individuals living in Sudan to communicate freely and securely, and brings it up to par with existing authorizations for Iran and Cuba.
The following statement can be attributed to Danielle Kehl, Policy Analyst at New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“With elections coming up this spring, the new general license comes at a critical time for human rights advocates, political organizers, and ordinary individuals living in Sudan. We’ve known for a long time that while U.S. sanctions are meant to put pressure on repressive regimes, unless they’re properly targeted, the restrictions can hurt the people living in those countries — cutting them off from access to food, medicine, and information. Authorizing the export of personal communications tools is an important step that helps prevent the the general population from becoming even more isolated and vulnerable to attacks by state-supported hackers. We are incredibly pleased that the U.S. government has finally decided to build upon the successful precedent established in the Iran and Cuba sanctions programs and extend similar authorizations to Sudan.”
OTI has long argued for a more targeted and consistent sanctions approach that would better ensure the free flow of information to sanctioned countries, and OTI along with a number of other advocacy groups has been specifically urging the U.S. government to authorize tech exports to Sudan for over a year. Several of these groups, including OTI, also sent a letter to OFAC last week about the impact of new U.S. sanctions on the free flow of information in the Crimea region.
The following statement can be attributed to Kevin Bankston, Policy Director of New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“Sanctions that keep ordinary people who are living under repressive regimes from safely and effectively using the Internet threaten to undermine rather than protect the exercise of their human rights. Therefore we are heartened that with its changes to the sanctions on Iran, Cuba, and now Sudan, the U.S. government has clearly recognized that promoting the free flow of information in sanctioned countries must be a priority. In that spirit, we urge the Treasury Department to quickly issue similar authorizations for other sanctions programs, including the new restrictions on the Crimean region of the Ukraine. Harmonizing these regulations will help ensure that the United States’ sanctions programs do not impede the free flow of information, while also making it easier for American companies to comply with the restrictions and offer their products to individuals in the affected areas — which we urge them to do without delay wherever possible.”
About New America
New America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. To learn more, please visit us online at www.newamerica.org or follow us on Twitter @NewAmerica.
About the Open Technology Institute
The Open Technology Institute (OTI) is a global pioneer in developing innovative communications technologies and policies to enable communities to fully participate in the global economy, and freely shape their democracies. To learn more, please visit us online at http://oti.newamerica.org and on Twitter @OTI.