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US Eases Internet Export Rules To Iran, Sudan, Cuba 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the wising-up dept.
coondoggie writes "Looking to facilitate what it calls free speech rights in countries that don't look favorably at such liberties, the US government today said it would ease the regulations around exporting Internet-based applications to Iran, Sudan and Cuba. Specifically, the Treasury Department said it would add general licenses (PDF) authorizing the exportation of free, personal, Internet-based communications services – such as instant messaging, chat and email, and social networking – to those three countries. The amendments also allow the exportation of related software to Iran and Sudan, the department said in a release (the US Commerce Department controls software exports with Cuba). Until now all such exports would have broken federal laws."
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US Eases Internet Export Rules To Iran, Sudan, Cuba

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  • privacy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tivoKlr (659818) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:26PM (#31404788) Journal
    Sounds like a good way to gather intel on the people using this technology in these "friendly" countries.
  • Eh? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:26PM (#31404790)

    US now cares about freedom?

  • Re:Eh? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:28PM (#31404796)

    No but the feds have realized the stupidity of these restrictions.

  • by srussia (884021) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:29PM (#31404802)
    You need a license to export ?

    Better add "free-speech zones" to that list.
  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#31404840) Journal
    We have a strict policy of saying unkind things about any dictators who we didn't install personally(and a few who haven't been passing their performance reviews since we did)...
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:42PM (#31404974)
    When will the government learn that about the only way people continue to be oppressed through governments is poverty, lack of information, and brainwashing. By allowing citizens of countries with oppressive governments to be opened to art, music, literature, communication and visitors from the "free" world, it will inspire citizens to rebel. Selfishness is a virtue, it helps keep a sane government if there is at least some communication with the outside world. If we would flood Cuba with American tourists, artists, musicians, and brought them computers, cell phones, etc. chances are the dictatorship would fall (mostly because Cuba is well within travel distance from the US, and while some other "free" countries allow travel/etc to Cuba like Canada, they lack the -very- close distance).
  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:44PM (#31404990)

    You need a license to export ?

    Do you think that's strange, or that every other country doesn't have similar laws? If you have a company who manufactures things like weapons, aeronautics, or communications equipment do you want them selling that to national enemies?

  • Re:privacy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tivoKlr (659818) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:45PM (#31405002) Journal
    Exactly. Widen the net of surveillance by giving the tools used for communication to the enemy. It's not like anyone should expect any kind of privacy when using im/email/etc. regardless of locale.
  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by trurl7 (663880) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:45PM (#31405010)

    You're talking about government. The US government in particular. The day they change the law because they "realize it's stupid", pigs will fly in line abreast over the Capitol.

    The only time the law changes is when there is an advantage for those in power to do so (e.g. more money, more power, avoiding a nation-wide civil revolt, etc..) The question, as always, is "qui bono"?

  • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:45PM (#31405014) Homepage

    Yup...just like ours. [haacked.com]

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:53PM (#31405104) Homepage Journal

    had you realized to do that sooner, like maybe 10 years ago, a lot might have changed in those countries by now.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:53PM (#31405106) Homepage Journal
    Awww, aren't your generalizations cute!

    If I go a hundred years without hearing "The government sucks because the government sucks!", it still won't be enough.
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:01PM (#31405220) Homepage Journal
    I don't see people from US to rebel to government because oppresive laws like i.e. sharing things on internet (in all variants, from pictures of your niece to a nice sound file you found around), no privacy, and other things that should be for granted in a "free" country. And they had internet since the start. Don't see China citizens rebelling neither, in fact, there are very vocal supporters of their government.

    And different way of living don't mean worse for them. Your values could be different to their ones. And if you think that your "democracy" is in anything related to do what free will of voters want, think again... being able to vote only to one bad candidate is not significantly better than being able to choose between 2 bad candidates (and the same corporations writting the laws behind both of them), and the media is too controlled to have in the big numbers anything related with free will in the population.
  • by vlm (69642) on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:07PM (#31405296)

    Let's trade some curry and hookahs for blue jeans, and call off the war, k?

    Hmm.... Our military industrial complex vs our dead textile industry. I wonder which will set policy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:10PM (#31405338)

    This is nice, guys, but when are we going to get rid of the brain-dead(*) restrictions on encryption software, already? As governments and ISPs all over the world have been demonstrating over the past few years, increasing computer power means it is steadily becoming easier to spy on and censor Internet users. To enable truly free communication in the face of a repressive government requires people to defend themselves, through anonymity software such as Tor, Freenet, and I2P, not to mention strong web and email encryption. If the US wants to encourage freedom of speech, it should be promoting the distribution of these technologies, not outlawing their export.

    Well, we can hope. This seems to be a small step in the right direction.

    (*) Yes, brain-dead; you'd have to be an idiot to think these restrictions do anything to keep encryption software out of terrorists' hands. All they accomplish is to make it more difficult for ordinary citizens of, say, Iran, to protect themselves from their government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:15PM (#31405416)

    "Trade Iran's government into a needy, third-world leech."

    Looking at the direction of the flow of wealth, third-world nations are not the leeches.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@cGINSBERGarpanet.net minus poet> on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:38PM (#31405750) Homepage

    Have they? They say they did it to "foster free speech".

    I have a different take.... isn't it so cute, they think they matter!

    As if nobody in Iran has instant messaging because....the US government said it couldn't be exported. To even think that a change in US policy on these technologies could now, or ever, have any such effect is either naive to the point of being cute and deserving of a pat on the head.... or so myopic, that their heads must be elbow deep up their asses.

    Somebody should give them a gold star for effort.

    -Steve

  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:47PM (#31405880)

    The US isn't a perfect country. But when our presidential election results were disputed (Bush vs Gore) no one got beaten, killed, arrested, or severely harassed by the authorities.

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@cGINSBERGarpanet.net minus poet> on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:03PM (#31406188) Homepage

    I actually don't care about the nation states so called "national enemies".

    Send them hydrogen bombs for all I care. Seriously. The whole security and fear meme is so overrated. We spent years preparing for a war that was plainly just never going to happen with the USSR, because the fucking idiots in charge on both sides were so afraid that the other one was planning to come after them.

    The last thing we need is more excuses for these people to have pissing contests. Its ridiculous for them to think that any countries regulations on "exports" of this type matter one bit.

    Every single one of these technologies has been in those countries for YEARS now. I would be shocked if people weren't using IM, as simply one example, in all three of those countries since the mid 90s.

    The ridiculous thing is that these "nation state" jokers are taken seriously at all.

    -Steve

  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:59PM (#31407172) Journal

    Don't see China citizens rebelling neither, in fact, there are very vocal supporters of their government.

    What was that whole Tiananmen Square thing then?

    Or China warns again against Hong Kong democracy push [google.com]?

    And why does China have to jail democracy activists [bbc.co.uk]?

    The truth is that China is 1.3 billion people with 1.3 billion different political beliefs. A good number of them are pushing for democracy. As to how many, we can't know in a non-democracy that jails people who are "subversive" to the autocracy.

    It is easy to be supportive of your government when your whole future life depends on you saying that you support it.

  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:24PM (#31407484) Homepage
    We spent years preparing for a war that was plainly just never going to happen with the USSR, because the fucking idiots in charge on both sides were so afraid that the other one was planning to come after them.

    Written with 20/20 hindsight. I lived through that era and I can assure you that it wasn't that clear at the time. There were many points (e.g., during the Cuban Missile Crisis) when it looked like somebody was going to push The Button any day now. In one sense, MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) worked: the Soviets were just as afraid that we were going to attack them as we were of a Soviet attack with the result that both sides did what they could to keep tensions below the flash-point.

Your own mileage may vary.

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