Obama to sanction tech companies that violate rights

Starting with companies, people aiding Syria, Iran, US looks at how tech cripples human rights

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
April 23, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2610

President Obama and The White House are recognizing that technology plays a big role in the violation of human rights across the globe and is ready to impose sanctions to curb such activities.

While social media has gotten a lot of credit for helping report abuses of human rights and help organize mass numbers of people to stand against harmful leaders in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa, there are several countries using their power over technology to silence the public and curb those technological aids.

Myanmar, China, Syria and Iran have all conducting surveillance, blocked access to the Internet or tracking the movements of opposition figures using advanced technology in the past and, in a speech today, President Obama will sign an executive order proclaiming the need to include tech concerns to US sanctions, according to the Washington Post. 

While the order is focused on targeting companies and individuals assisting the governments of Iran and Syria, this could be a first step in aiding other countries through technology in crackdowns based on fear-mongering and silencing the truth.

Obama’s speech will be broadcast from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum today and will include his plan to install the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate, to appraise the potential for mass killings in all countries.

Obama has already called for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and imposed a set of economic sanctions against his government since human rights groups estimate that he has killed more than 11,000 people.

Also, the new Atrocities Prevention Board, which will convene for the first time today, will comprise senior representatives from across the administration with the goal of helping “the U.S. government identify and address atrocity threats and oversee institutional changes that will make us more nimble and effective.”

Many countries' leadership groups have used their power to shutdown cell and Internet service over the past few years to control the information getting to the people in the country and around the world. Last spring, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, experienced Internet blackouts during its politcal unrest. These blackouts, while exptemely harmful, did backfire on the country leaders, however, since it only magnified the human rights issues occuring in the countries.

(Image Source: Bloomberg)

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