US Internet activists called the US government to return the Apple and Google in the Crimea




Four human rights organizations have asked the US Treasury to allow residents of the Crimea free access to the American web services. This must be done “immediately to protect the free flow of information,” they wrote.


According to Rbc , human rights organizations Access, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Global Voices Advocacy and Open Technology Institute (three of them are based in the US, one in the Netherlands) wrote an open letter to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC, Office responsible for the authorization of the US Treasury ) with a call to “immediately to protect the free flow of information in the Crimean region of Ukraine” (formally the United States continue to be considered part of Crimea in Ukraine).

In December 2014, US President Barack Obama signed a decree on the introduction of the trade embargo against the Crimea. Obeying the decree, the US technology company in January Crimean disabled users on a number of the usual services, including the App Store and Google Play, payment service PayPal, domain name registrar GoDaddy. Ceased to be updated free browser Google Chrome. “Existing regulations OFAC in Crimea are such that it is unclear whether the law is allowed to provide even the most basic Internet services or software” – human rights activists complain.

The letter stressed that “the provision of access to digital platforms and modern communication technologies regardless of the sanctions fully in the public interest [the United States].” Journalists and independent media need access to reliable information technologies to document the events in the “disputed areas”, such as the Crimea. In addition, if isolated peninsula of American communications services, users will rely on “affordable and competitive” analogues of Russian providers , activists warn.

Crimean sanctions in their current form impose an undue burden on American small and medium enterprises as to perform such regional restrictions from a technical point of view is much more difficult than the country. In cyberspace generally difficult to control the geographic boundaries, say the compilers of the application.

In the absence of certainty whether all the effort made to execute sanctions, companies will approach this issue with excessive rigidity and can block the “extra” users in Russia and Ukraine, the letter said.

In addition to human rights groups, the petition was signed by lawyers Samuel Cutler and Erich Ferrari from the American firm Ferrari & Associates, specializing in sanctions OFAC.

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