Obama’s Executive Order Targets Technology in HR Abuses
President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that allows U.S. officials to impose sanctions against companies who use technologies, including cellphone tracking and Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses. The order particularly targets the governments of Iran and Syria, and new sanctions were announced. In Syria, the sanctions target the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the Syriatel phone company and Ali Mamluk, the director of Syria’s general intelligence services. In Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Law Enforcement Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Datak Telecom will be subject to the new sanctions.
“This novel sanctions tool allows us to sanction not just those oppressive governments, but the companies that enable them with technology they use for oppression and the ‘digital guns for hire’ who create or operate systems used to monitor, track, and target citizens for killing, torture, or other grave abuses,” the White House statement said.