Tracking sanctions online
President Obama will announce a new executive order authorizing sanctions for human rights abuses. This is the first time any administration will target countries that monitor and track the cell phones and browsing habits of its citizens. Initially aimed at Syria and Iran, expect sanctions for these types of human rights abuses to be on the rise. As the Washington Post reports, in the case of Syria some “security forces are using technology to track down the opposition movement’s leaders. Syrian officials may also have tracked satellite phones and computer addresses to locate a group of foreign journalists in February who were covering the siege of the city of Homs.”
In addition to countries, the sanctions are also aimed at the companies that provide them with tracking technologies. To all the cell monitoring and web tracking companies that use the defense that they don’t do business in these countries, consider yourselves warned. Again from the Post: “senior administration officials say the measures should prompt all companies to think harder about how the technology they are providing to other countries might be employed and to take steps to ensure that it is not used in harmful ways.”
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