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Microsoft Not the Only Firm Blocking IM Service To US Enemies 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the unfortunate-consistency dept.
ericatcw writes "It was reported last week that Microsoft had cut access to its Windows Live Messenger instant messaging service to citizens of five countries with whom the US has trade embargoes. Now, it turns out that Google and, apparently, AOL have taken similar actions. According to a lawyer quoted by Computerworld, even free, downloaded apps are viewed as 'exports' by the US government — meaning totally in-the-cloud services such as e-mail may escape the rules. Either way, there appear to be a number of ways determined citizens of Syria, Iran, and Cuba can get around the ban."
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Microsoft Not the Only Firm Blocking IM Service To US Enemies

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  • by xzvf (924443) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:24AM (#28148893)
    Ironically, banning these communication tools will more likely hinder dissidents in those countries far more than government. The dictatorial governments already have control over many traditional forms of communication and by introducing these new forums, the US would actually make it harder for them to control their population.
    • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:45AM (#28148997)

      Unfortunately the blame doesn't lie with ms/aol/google (a sad day for /.) this time the problem is purely political ( a happy day for /.), the government needs to define "exports" better so that methods of communicating are allowed (even if you forbid encryption).

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        No, the definition for exports is just fine, what is needed is a case by case review and exemption implementation system so services that pose no real threat and possibly benefit the US can be excluded.

        Methods of communicating are a key part to embargoes and export restrictions. It goes into the entire not benefiting from a free (er) system to not enabling the foreign governments easier access to control and efficiency in that control. Missile guidence systems are little more then ways to communicate. They

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        More to the point, who is the government to say who we can or cannot trade with?

        Access to a system should be determined by the owner not the government, also in a free market I am free to sell to who ever I wish.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:54AM (#28149029)
      I always thought the Internet would make wars awfully awkward, since you could be in direct, person-to-person contact with the civilians on the other side. At least a few of them are bound to put up facebook pages chronicling their hardships, in English, for all to see. (And to be fair, foreign propagandists are sure to create sympathetic shills as well - though as long as the pictures of slaughtered children are real, I'm not sure the identity of the supposed grieving mother really matters).

      So I guess this practice will help shield us from that little inconvenience.

      • by Daimanta (1140543) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @10:43AM (#28149347) Journal

        "I always thought the Internet would make wars awfully awkward, since you could be in direct, person-to-person contact with the civilians on the other side."

        Reminds me of a common thought in the beginning of the 20th century. When aeroplanes were invented, there was the opinion that since everthing would be scoutable from the air, there would be no secrets since every troopmovement would be detected very easily. There would be no secrets and war would be impossible. That hope was crushed very quick I would imagine since war didn't stop and even became more dangerous to civilians(city bombing).

        In a real war between equals, internet contact(and all other contact for that matter) between those countries would be immediatly cut off as far as it can be cut off. Sure, you can use proxies and the sort but only a select few would be able to subvert the "firewall". Every time a new way of evading the firewall becomes popular, goverments will try to block it and it will be enough to stop 90%+ of the people coming in contact with people on the other side.

        • by Ektanoor (9949)

          I would note that during both Iraq wars there were reports that US & Allies could not completely take down Irak's network grid. There was even some anecdotical evidence due to fiber optics being used.

          "As far as it can be cut off"... Well the last on the list will probably be those with the weapons, which makes such moves rather unproductive. Civilians loose phone and network links while the military or terrorist keep browsing Google Maps.

          One doesn't need to go so far as to Iraq... Pakistan, Swat. Taliba

        • Alfred Nobel: right on Mutually Assured Destruction, but 50 years early and wrong weapon?

          Combined with legit civil-engineering use of such explosives, it makes sense

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          That's why we need net neutrality.

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        Sure the pictures are heart wrenching and worth every 1000 words they tell. Although, in some cases, I am also interested in the extra 100 words that the picture doesn't tell. Like pre and post events or surroundings not included in the picture.

        A good photographer can make a crowd of 10 look like 100, or 100 people look like 1000s. Similarly, a good propagandist will distort the events of a picture to suit their needs. Facts be damned, reality is what the people believe.
    • by alcmaeon (684971) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @10:19AM (#28149185)
      Also ironically, wouldn't it be better for the U.S. to have all its enemies' secret communications running through servers in the U.S. so we could just eavesdrop anytime we wanted to with no hassle. Or the U.S. thinks the IM doesn't serve any strategic purpose, which makes one wonder why it needs to be embargoed.
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Encryption, misdirection, and poisoning plots.

        The information gathered in this way wouldn't be very useful for long. First, there are encryption techniques that would take longer then any war would to break making the information only beneficial to the intended recipients. Think about that, the message is about troop movements and a sneak attack next week and it takes 6 months to 10 years to crack it.

        Second, if I know you have privilege to my communications, then I can stretch your forces and cost severe ec

      • That's a great idea. It's also why you'd be totally unsuited to working for government. :|

        Stick to private enterprise, my friend. Survival of the fittest has its rewards.

  • OK With Me (Score:2, Funny)

    by ElDuque (267493)

    That's the point, isn't it? Hopefully citizens in those countries will wish that they weren't embargoed and put pressure on their government to change.

    I understand that not everyplace has a representative democracy with regular, free elections like the US, but except for the worst dictatorships that rule by force, the government must remain popular with the people!

    • Re:OK With Me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by polar red (215081) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:30AM (#28148927)

      It's hard to change your government when outside forces keep interfering. examples are : big corporations paying warlords (with weapons) in exchange for mining rights; foreign governments placing people in government and supplying them with money/weapons ...

      • Re:OK With Me (Score:5, Insightful)

        by polar red (215081) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:34AM (#28148939)

        another example : a foreign much bigger country places your country in isolation, thereby giving the dictator a means to control the population by antagonising the big country. (CUBA)

        • by neoform (551705)

          How many countries have an embargo on Cuba? (hint, one)

          The US's embargo on Cuba has not strengthened Castro's grip on the population, all it's done is made Cubans poorer, which _should_ make the population dislike their leader for letting that happen..

    • Re:OK With Me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:35AM (#28148941)

      I understand that not everyplace has a representative democracy with regular, free elections like the US, but except for the worst dictatorships that rule by force, the government must remain popular with the people!

      You are kidding yourself. An ordinary person has very little influence on who and what comprises the government, especially in countries where anti-government sentiment is met with force and violence. That Western companies seek to undermine the few remaining means of free communication that these people have is, frankly, irresponsible.

    • Re:OK With Me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zwei2stein (782480) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:40AM (#28148971) Homepage

      Ehhh ... no.

      Citizens of those countries being able to comunicate with rest of the world and see&compare how people live elsewhere will cause change. That is reason why their cowerment attempt to censor internet. US of A does not need to help them with that.

      Big Bad Common Foreign Enemy targeting them too on the other hand ... well, ignorant masses are easy prey to propaganda.

    • In a totalitarian state, you can not put pressure on the gov except by insurrection. Do you see that occurring? I do not.
    • Re:OK With Me (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Saturday May 30, 2009 @10:38AM (#28149305) Homepage

      Only thanks to actions like this attempting to shut off methods of communication, the only information these people will get about the outside world will be what their government supplies them...

      So as far as the people are concerned, it is not their heroic government that needs to change, it is the evil foreign governments who are picking on them.. And were it not for their heroic government fighting their corner, these people would be even more cut off from the world.

    • That's the point, isn't it? Hopefully citizens in those countries will wish that they weren't embargoed and put pressure on their government to change.

      Sounds good to me. I think I'll start petitioning the UK and Canadian governments to change control of ICANN. This is a US corporation and I think it would be very bad if that started to refuse domain names to Canada because the US government doesn't think our copyright laws are draconian enough. Probably not the type of pressure you were hoping for is it? However when foreign corporations start meddling in local politics this is the sort of result you will get.

      • This is a US corporation and I think it would be very bad if that started to refuse domain names to Canada because the US government doesn't think our copyright laws are draconian enough

        Aren't canadian domains handled by Canada? My country's domains are handled here.

        • Canada is an independent country (thank goodness if you've been looking at what the British MPs have been up to!) - but I am a citizen of Britain and a permanent resident of Canada hence I have two MPs, a Canadian and a British one, whom I can write to.
  • Since when is internet divided into countries?
    • by Spatial (1235392)
      There's always IRC.

      Don't solely trust your communications to a corporation if you can help it.
  • "U.S. Enemies"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fantomas (94850) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:27AM (#28148911)

    Do you guys in the USA still seriously believe that Cuba is going to invade and conquer you / subvert your citizens and turn them into communists / invite Putin to set up ICBMs pointing at you?

    Across the water here in the UK it seems a bit daft. Really interested in some measured responses about why the USA still has a trade embargo against Cuba and treats them so coldly. I'm not trying to wind you up, but really curious and I don't understand. If the reason is because you believe Cuba has a poor human rights record, well that doesn't stop the USA trading with other countries where serious human rights abuses are commonplace. Is it because Cuba is nominally communist? I am pretty sure the USA trades with other countries that have communist/dictatorial leaderships.

    Really curious - can any slashdotters enlighten me as to why the Cuba / USA situation continues? I would have thought it's all long gone cold war history and both countries would benefit from getting over it. Or has the Cuban leadership said something that the USA doesn't find acceptable and won't back down until they apologise?

    cheers for any insights!

    • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:39AM (#28148969)

      Really curious - can any slashdotters enlighten me as to why the Cuba / USA situation continues? I would have thought it's all long gone cold war history and both countries would benefit from getting over it. Or has the Cuban leadership said something that the USA doesn't find acceptable and won't back down until they apologise?

      Why do politicians do anything? Political reasons. Gotta look tough 'n macho, or something. Tough on crime. Tough on communism. So on so forth. Yeah we trade with worse countries but Joe Voter is too stupid to know that and he knows that Cuba it the "enemy" of the good ol' USA so only a pinko liberal would end the embarge!*

      *the vast majority of liberals don't support removing the trade embargo either. Oh...and I'm not a liberal.

      • by slarrg (931336) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:49AM (#28149009)
        Not to mention it's a country that's easy to embargo since they have nothing we need. Rest assured, if they strike oil there we'll find every reason under the sun to be the best of allies.
        • by mqduck (232646)

          Not to mention it's a country that's easy to embargo since they have nothing we need.

          No, but they're a sizeable market for food producers (Cuba imports a LOT of its food), who are one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the embargo.

          Rest assured, if they strike oil there we'll find every reason under the sun to be the best of allies.

          Guess what Venezuela is helping them prepare to drill for [usnews.com]. Guess what other US companies want the embargo to end.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        I think in the case of Cuba, it's personal. Some Americans just can't stand the thought of Castro outliving our antagonism.
        • by phayes (202222) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @11:21AM (#28149553) Homepage
          Lets not forget that for decades Cuba/Castro worked to undermine democracy internationally every chance they got while oppressing anyone at home who suggested the slightest criticism of the castrist "nirvana". A unsubstainable nirvana that was bought & paid for by subsidies from the kremlin. When the URSS collapsed, instead of accepting dissent and moving towards a system where the cubans could freely elect their leaders, Castro chose to crash the cuban economy. After all, that wayn whatever the pain to the population, Castro would still be comfortably in power... The problem between Cuba & the US not just one-sided, the cuban government actively hates and fears democracy.
          • for decades Cuba/Castro worked to undermine democracy internationally every chance they got

            How many dictatorships did the US support, in latin america and elsewhere?

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by phayes (202222)
              I'm sure that all the Angolans killed over 27 years of Cuban intervention in their once prosperous country are reassured by Cuba's justification that Cuba helped destroy their country to assist the people being oppressed by US supported dictators in the rest of the world. None of which changes my point: Castro's oppression of his own people is as responsible for the embargo as the USG is. Arrange free elections. Win them. No way could the US justify the continued embargo. Continue to oppress the any cuban
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760) *
        "Why do politicians do anything? Political reasons"

        I agree with the OP, the reason was the missle crisis but I'm 50 and I'm still too young to remember the missle crisis first hand, to an non-american it looks petty and childish. I mean why is the US speaking to Germany and Japan, WW2 was a much bigger shit fight and was only 15-20yrs before the bay of pigs? Seems to me the reasons to hold a formalised grudge against Cuba dissapeared long ago. The sanctions obviously didn't work since Castro remained in
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Daemonax (1204296)
        That's interesting. I've lately been seeing more and more evidence that liberals are really just moderates. They seem to be more and more for just maintaining the status quo.

        I used to consider myself as in the liberal camp but now find myself much further to the left. I value education, science, freedom, free speech and heavily criticize religion and would like to see it disappear, such values used to be very common with the left.
        What seems to me to have happened now though is traditional leftist values
    • by AlHunt (982887) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:51AM (#28149015) Homepage Journal

      >Really curious - can any slashdotters enlighten me as to why the Cuba / USA situation continues?

      Because it seemed like a good idea at the time and backing off now would mean Davey beat Goliath. American politicians aren't willing to admit they couldn't bully a tiny island nation 90 miles off the coast.

      In a word - ego.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ektanoor (9949)

        The problem is purely economical. If one gets the chronology right, things went bad between US and Cuba when Fidel wanted to get a little bit of Cuba for cubans themselves. Back them 99,9% of Cuba was US, the "little garden" on the Caribbean.

        Was it a burst of emotion or something else? The fact is that Fidel nationalized all Cuba! And the US made a pretty messy fuss out of that. Upon which Fidel answered with a fuss of world proportions. Remember the Missile Crisis?

        Now the fact is that not only Fidel, or th

        • by mqduck (232646)

          The fact is that Fidel nationalized all Cuba! And the US made a pretty messy fuss out of that. Upon which Fidel answered with a fuss of world proportions. Remember the Missile Crisis?

          You forgot a little detail in-between [wikipedia.org].

      • I don't think it's that, or at least it's not the entire problem.

        Florida is very often a key state and many Cubans live there, they're a pretty significant voting group. A lot of them seem to be so blind in their hatred of Castro that they don't see the embargo that they support is hurting their countrymen more than it hurts Castro.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by HangingChad (677530)

      Do you guys in the USA still seriously believe that Cuba is going to invade and conquer you / subvert your citizens and turn them into communists / invite Putin to set up ICBMs pointing at you?

      Most Americans, no, they don't believe any of that. There's a minority ruled by the near constant crap flood of fear, racism, xenophobia and negativity offered up by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, along with a handful of media outlets owned by Rupert Murdock and Fred Koch. They don't rea

    • by Ektanoor (9949)

      There were and probably still are several american interests in Myanmar/Burma. Not matter the presence, the regime there is still the same. And the response they made to the huge cyclone that slashed nearly all the country is, at least, barbaric.

      Cuba, with its record, had recently to deal with a no less damaging hurricane. Their response was such that I read, a few months ago, that Texas officials were eager to go to Havana to get acquainted with their methods.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314)

        Oh it's much worse than that. You might find this list, particularly the Cuba entry interesting:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_response_to_Hurricane_Katrina [wikipedia.org]

        Everyone knows the way the Bush administration dealt with Katrina is bad, but I don't think many realise quite how bad. Realistically in turning down Cuba's offer of help American lives were undoubtedly lost and for what? A refusal to reconcile with what is an entirely harmless nation to the US? A dispute that started over half a century ago?

        • by Ektanoor (9949)

          Agree. But one shall take into account that Syria, while helping organisations clearly linked to terrorism, does not make threats against the US. On the contrary it has a policy to avoid directly harassing the US. On the other side, there is that interesting country of Libya.... That did not only made threats... Right?

          Where are they now?

          BTW, no long ago I took a look at a large book made in the US about Libya's mineral resources. Really fantastic, a super-detailed report on the best of the best Libya has "t

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      When Castro came to power, many, many rich Cuban families left their land, houses, farms and factories and moved to Florida. To this day, these Florida Cubans hold enormous political power. It's very difficult for a national politician to win Florida without appeasing the Cuban population there. And, because of the peculiar nature of the American electoral system, it's very difficult to win the presidency without winning, or at least a significant showing in Florida. So the Cubans in Florida wield enorm

      • by Xest (935314)

        I don't think even 3% of the US population is Jewish. That would be 9 million people yet there are only 12 million Jews in the world and 5.3million of them are in Israel.

        I'm not sure where their disproportionate hold on power stems from though, simply guilt over what happened in World War II perhaps?

    • by NonSequor (230139)

      When Castro seized the assets of Cuba's property owners, they fled to the US. Obviously, these people don't care much for Castro and they happen to wield a considerable amount of influence, particularly in Florida, one of the most important swing states in the presidential elections.

      On top of this, there are still some old cold war hawks who view Cuba as a lingering threat of communist influence in Latin America. There is a lot of nostalgic fear attached to Castro's name. This may soften if Raul turns out t

    • Really curious - can any slashdotters enlighten me as to why the Cuba / USA situation continues? I would have thought it's all long gone cold war history and both countries would benefit from getting over it. Or has the Cuban leadership said something that the USA doesn't find acceptable and won't back down until they apologise?

      Basically, yes. When Castro took over he nationalized the assets left behind by all the rich cubanos who fled to the USA. They weren't happy about that so they capitalized on the political situation and used their influence to get the US government to "punish" Castro in return. Those cubanos and their descendants living in Miami and other parts of the US are still pretty rich and still pretty pissed, so they make use of whatever they can to continue to pressure/lobby the US government to keep those polic

    • by j0nb0y (107699)

      Bah, lots of replies to your question, but most of them pin the blame in the wrong place.

      Of course, the embargo started during the cold war. We could debate whether even *that* was a good idea, but dems da facts. The reason the ban stays in place is strictly for political reasons. But it's not to maintain a "macho" image, as other replies have stated. The reason is that the ban is very popular among cuban expatriots in Florida. Cubans are an important minority demographic in Florida. And Florida is a

    • by mi (197448)

      Do you guys in the USA still seriously believe that Cuba is going to invade and conquer you / subvert your citizens and turn them into communists / invite Putin to set up ICBMs pointing at you?

      Yes, we do. They did get Hruschev's missiles once, and they (Che Guevara [savecivilization.org] in particular) did try to blow-up New York landmarks — FBI and New York Police Department managed to disrupt that operation by planting a young police cadet in the "Black Liberation Army".

      As long as the same people and the same ideology a

      • right...and the never US funded & armed people who attacked cuba killing ~5k people!

        • by mi (197448)

          right...and the never US [sic] funded & armed people who attacked cuba killing ~5k people!

          Why the Cuban government fears USA is a different topic from why the American government is wary of Cuba.

          I take it, you accept my point on the original topic, and wish to switch to this new one. Obliging.

          Your attempt to equate Che Guevara's terrorism with America-supported military action/coup is ridiculous. Che intended to scare (terrorize) millions by killing (intentionally with multiple bombs) as many as he

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arthurpaliden (939626)
      The reason the US still treats Cuba that way is because the Cuban expat community in Florida has the swing vote in that state. And the way their electorial system works (dosen't work) makes them a very powerful although very small group. So each political party tries to be seen as hard on Cuba to get this all powerful, but again very small, voting block.
    • At this time, the cuban's that have moved to America force this issue. They are in the republican party and keep pushing the neo-cons to keep this on. If the dems relax things (such as what just happened recently), the neo-cons point fingers at the dems and scream that they are communists. Sadly, most dems are worried about getting elected, so they knee-jerk back the relaxation. Obama does not appear to be that way. I think that he will drop the embargo, most likely in the next 4 years (assuming that he is
    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Because they want to be seen to be tough on ... And cuba has nothing they really need. They would like to do the same with china and russia, but the big business lobbyists who pay for their political campaigns wouldn't like that. Cuba are just a scapegoat because noone that matters (read: noone with money) cares about them.

    • by KeithJM (1024071)
      I think originally it was that a lot of American-owned property was seized by the new Cuban government. It was a big US vacation spot, so many of the hotels and resorts were owned by US citizens and corporations. When Fidel came to power he basically revoked the titles to all of those properties and claimed them for himself, so a lot of rich and powerful US citizens were very unhappy with him. Add to that the fear of communists and you get an embargo. Now it's mostly because the only people who REALLY c
    • by PPH (736903)

      We're embargoing Cuba because organized crime wants their property back.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      Really curious - can any slashdotters enlighten me as to why the Cuba / USA situation continues?

      The US population as a whole opposes the embargo now, but there's a very important exception: Cuban immigrants. Rabidly anticommunist Cubans in Florida are very strong politically, and anyone who follows US national elections (doesn't everyone?) knows how important Florida is.

  • This does nothing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:37AM (#28148951)

    I'm sure someone is going to step in with some "brilliant" apology for the behavior of the government (now, this applies to the US government now, but could also apply to any other government), but in reality these embargoes do little more than hurt the everyday people in both countries, as most people are completely innocent of whatever games their silly leaders play and this only denies them trade, communication, and sometimes a place to escape a worse regime (although sometimes I wonder if that "worse regime" could be the USA itself...)

    The reason for the Cuba embargo is simply for political reasons. You can tell who the more honest politicians are in Congress by whether they'd end the Cuban embargo. How many of them are there, anyway? Two? Sounds about right.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      ron paul and...?

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      The US should give Castro a break. As you said, the innocent people are the one who gets hurt the most.

      Besides, all in all, considering the whole central America crisis, Cuba is doing quite well.
      • by mqduck (232646)

        Besides, all in all, considering the whole central America crisis, Cuba is doing quite well.

        Shhh, don't say that so loud. Perspective regarding Cuba is verboten.

    • > as most people are completely innocent
      > of whatever games their silly leaders play

      True... I wonder how would we do without governments.
  • Silly rules (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ektanoor (9949) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:46AM (#28148999) Journal

    Anyway that will not impair Fidel Castro of browsing Google News through Chavez's personal proxy, right?
    Or it will not stop Ahmenidjad of reading all those funny books on US rocket programs he already got from googling... Besides he already bookmarked all the stuff.
    Anyway I think it will be more damaging the fact that information, on what people think of these countries, is being blocked to them...

    Eeeee, stop... North Korea was taken out of terrorism support list a little before they started to mess around with missiles and nukes. Well, missiles and nukes, they already had isn't it? Yes, it could be possible that Kim just decided to google a little bit and found the reason for that litlte meany bug that was plaguing his rockets. But the man went really mad, he is blasting a rocket every day and scrapping every piece of paper he signed. He's cursing the whole world and threatening pure harakiri. Maybe because of such things as this?:

    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/north-korea-uncovered-google-earth/

    So long for secretive North Korea...

    • This is to be expected when the rules are made by people who have no idea how the technology works. The only good that will come out of this is that the youth of today are aproching voting age and they know that the old guard is just posturing and will treat them acordingly in comming elections.
    • Like me, they're probably sick of US dumbassery.

  • The ban is designed to stop residents of said countries, not citizens. You can still have non-Iranians in Iran, for example, being effected by this and also still have citizens of the counties living elsewhere not being effected by the ban.

    With solutions such as Jabber, there is nothing for residents in question to put place their own solution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ektanoor (9949)

      Or use relative tools from third countries. There is no access to google.com? Well, let's try yandex.ru.

      These rulings give me a weird sense of the Chinese Big Wall of Internet in a mirror image

  • Google's IM service is "totally in the cloud"... Sure, they *offer* a downloadable client for it, but you don't have to use theirs, they even encourage you to use other clients to connect to it. People in these countries wanting to connect can just download another client, in fact they could even use XMPP compliant servers located anywhere else to talk to google users... I speak to tons of gtalk users every day, from my own server.

  • Because a country is on your embargo list, or in some random "axis of evil" compendium, does not make it an "enemy" of the US.

    This may come as a surprise to many /. readers and, apparently, the ignoramus who wrote the article title, but it is true nonetheless.

    Grow up and stop being paranoid, America. External enemies are for children lying in bed afraid of the bogeyman. The real enemy is within us, as you are as a nation - one hopes! - in the process of (re-)discovering.

    • by PPH (736903)
      Its not for us to determine who our enemies are. In the USA, the needs of the individual and the corporation are subservient to those of the state [wikipedia.org].
  • There are many other protocols for people to communicate over the web.
  • From TFA:

    even free, downloaded apps are viewed as 'exports' by the US government

    Yet another reason to move s/w development and server operations offshore.

  • "Either way, there appear to be a number of ways determined citizens of Syria, Iran, and Cuba can get around the ban."

    If the US government would get its head out of its ass and stop drumming up new "enemies" to justify its military-industrial complex every time some country doesn't BOHICA for the US, we wouldn't care about any of this.

    Cuba? Does ANYBODY care about Cuba any more?

    Syria and Iran are not the enemies of the US - IF the US wasn't bound and determined to be THEIR enemy courtesy of the fucking raci

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