US Eases Sanctions On Communications Software For Cuba, Iran And Sudan

from the communication-is-good dept

Realizing that better communications tools would probably help spread important ideas and efforts against totalitarian regimes, the US has finally eased sanctions against providing communications software in Cuba, Iran and Sudan. In the past, economic sanctions against those countries were supposed to create pressure for the regimes to change — but in practice that’s been a pretty big failure. Now, it appears, folks in the administration are finally realizing that more open communication allows for much greater efforts and organization, as well as more information from elsewhere. This is a good move — just many years too late.

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Comments on “US Eases Sanctions On Communications Software For Cuba, Iran And Sudan”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“This is a good move — just many years too late.”

I agree. The U.S. is supposed to promote democracy yet they try to destroy a very important aspect of our democracy, free speech. It’s good that’s changing finally.

However, I think the U.S. is more interested in just making profits and helping our industry that provides these services than on helping advance free speech. They don’t want them to create their own industry to produce such stuff, they want a monopoly on these things so that they become dependent on us. Still, it’s probably better to have such free speech than not to, though who knows how much the U.S. may try to implement restrictions on said free speech in the future in the U.S.’s best interest if they’re in charge of such infrastructure. Still, attempts to implement such restrictions generally fail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Bit of a diabolic stretch there. These countries have had ages to develop their own communication methods but fail horridly to do so.

And if their aim was to help ONE SPECIFIC INDUSTRY why not just open the flood gates and help all of our industries? Really that would be the best route since more of our products flooding a country like Cuba for instance would be an awesome way to culturally take over their country.

It’s more like the government is following up with a goal they set not that long ago to promote free speech and communication around the world.

TheCuban says:

“Bit of a diabolic stretch there. These countries have had ages to develop their own communication methods but fail horridly to do so”

Are you saying each country should develop their own messenger app and social network app? Or are you just trying to feel superior?

In the case of Cuba this is about Microsoft blocking its messenger. Other apps and social networks like facebook are almost irrelevant since people have very limited access to the net, most of the time illegally, and they use it to do email and chat. In that regards, Windows Live Messenger (aka Messenger for Dummies) let me introduce to you to Mr Skype, Mr Proxy Servers and Mr Tor Network. In other words, the supposed ban was never effective and nobody gave a rat’s ass about it.

On a related matter Cuba is supporting open source and trying to minimise the use of Windows OS/apps. There’s also a centralised software library where you can get almost any software (Windows) for free. Already with serials, cracks or keygens.

Copyright is barely enforced in Cuba and as a result the music scene is thriving. There’s a famous timba band called Charanga Habanera. On their last record they use a lot of musical phrases or references from other Cuban songs. The copyright to some of these songs belong to American companies (it’s a long ridiculous story), so it’s safe to assume there was no permission requested. On a clip to promote the album they used scenes from The Godfather and Godfellas. There’s a lot of that in recent music. Fusion bands like Interactivo and Habana Abierta openly use Cuban musical references. I’m sure that would be illegal in other places.

Maybe this explains why American music has a much less impact there. While in other countries pop music is mainly of American origin (hip-hop, rap, etc) in Cuba salsa, timba and son are first and everything foreign takes a faraway second place.

“…more of our products flooding a country like Cuba for instance would be an awesome way to culturally take over their country.”

Nice try and wishful thinking. It takes more than ethnocentric ignorance to take over Cuba’s culture. Or any other country’s culture for that matter.

Anonymous Coward says:

To qualify for the authorization in the regulation all the services and software must be publicly available at no cost to the user.

Profit and greed don’t have anything to do with these changes to the regulations. Forget that line of thinking. You can still get specific authorizations to sell such products to these countries from the Office of Foreign Asset Control (at Treasury) but good luck with that one.

These rules changes were just to cover gray areas in the sanctions laws that people were already exploiting. It’s a nice step and I doubt anyone will try to challenge the legality of it all.

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