U.S. to allow exports of Facebook, blogs, e-mail to Iran, Cuba and Sudan
The U.S. government on Monday lifted a ban on Web exports to Iran, Sudan and Cuba in an effort to bring freedom to communicate to those nations.
In a release, the Treasury Department said it has granted U.S. companies general licenses to deliver instant messaging, chat, e-mail and social networking to those nations.
“Consistent with the administration’s deep commitment to the universal rights of all the world’s citizens, the issuance of these general licenses will make it easier for individuals in Iran, Sudan and Cuba to use the Internet to communicate with each other and the outside world,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin.
The technology licenses also include photo and video sharing software, Web browsing technology and blogging platforms.
Wolin said the administration will move to lift its export restriction on such technologies after seeing the power of social media during civilian demonstrations during the Iranian elections last year. People on the ground used the micro-blogging site Twitter to report events on the ground and to organize rallies against the government.
Last month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced an agenda of Internet freedoms in direct protest of government censoring in China and other nations. Google said in January it would pull its business operations out of China because the nation was forcing it to censor search results. The company hasn’t withdrawn its business there and said it hopes to work with the Chinese government and not practice censorship.
March 8, 2010; 2:51 PM ET
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