Crimea residents will be left without American web services

US President Barack Obama issued an executive order prohibiting the US companies to supply goods and provide services in the Crimea. The IT-sphere is also under an embargo. 
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But to deprive the inhabitants of the peninsula Skype, Gmail, Windows and other popular programs and services is unlikely to succeed, experts warn.

Blockade of a new type

In 1997, US President Bill Clinton signed a decree, which prohibited the export to Iran of "any goods, technology or services." While the Internet and electronic communications were not yet widespread, and Clinton is unlikely to imagine that classic embargo will soon turn to Iran blockade of a new type - "e-blockade."

On Friday, December 19, US President Barack Obama, using exactly the same wording as the Clinton 17 years ago, signed a decree imposed an almost total embargo on the Crimea. But now the consequences of such a decision more clear: one of them can be lock on the peninsula of the usual services, like Gmail or a Skype, closing access to the popular US software - Firefox, Google Chrome or Java.

Obama's decree "About blocking property of certain persons and the prohibition of certain transactions in respect of the Crimean region of Ukraine" prohibits "the export, re-export, prodazhu or supply, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services or technology from the United States or a United States person, wherever it was, in the Crimean region of Ukraine. " Embargo implies not only a ban on the supply to the Crimea US goods (and who do not go there directly), but also a ban on the access of inhabitants of the Crimea to the Internet services and widespread programs and applications - even though they are free.

The US Treasury issued a general license authorizing the export of medicines to the Crimea and agricultural commodities (the same "humanitarian" exceptions introduced for Iran). But there is no mention in the license of Internet services, communication services, or software.

No comments

From the "Crimean" Obama really should decree that the embargo applies to internet services, confirmed a Washington company lawyer Bryan Cave Cliff Burns, specializing in export control and sanctions: "The fact that services like Gmail is free, does not change anything." According to Burns, et"Somewhat surprising" given that all other US sanctions programs, including Iran, allow an exception in the form of free access to the civilian population of Internet services and communications applications. As technically Google and other companies will enforce the embargo Crimean lawyer does not know.

Now, by law, US companies are obliged to refuse access to all the above categories of services and software in the Crimea, if the user tries to download the product up. If the product is delivered to the Crimea to bypass the sanctions and the producer knows it, it may take measures to prevent the use of the product: for example, Apple may not allow to activate the iPhone on the territory of Crimea, says Washington lawyer who wished to remain anonymous.

Obama explained that he issued a decree on the Crimean embargo to "explain American companies how to operate in the region," said company CEO "Information Law" Alexander Fear. However, it complains, there are more questions than answers, and it is difficult to say exactly how Americancal Internet companies will operate in the Crimea. They may have to enter some internal lock on the basis of the IP-addresses of users. Now the companies are guided by the data provided by the users themselves. On site, for example, there is a story about the case of blocking of the Crimean resident Rodion Vlasov on the American Stock Exchange remote developers in the questionnaire on the service, it was stated that the Vlasov live in Crimea. To unlock an account, please confirm that Vlasov resides outside the territory of Crimea.

The development environment of one of the world's most popular programming language Java is possible that you will not be able to update the code - the system generates an error. "You are in a country covered by the embargo. Download Java is not possible "- a message received by inhabitants of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria when attempting to update the Java code.

Java belongs to the American Oracle, a company representative in Russia found it difficult to say something about the ability to disable the update of the Crimea from this environment and the company's other programs. The Russian Represtruction Microsoft said that the sanctions do not comment. A source in the company familiar with the situation said that the corporation is under the jurisdiction of the United States and forced to comply with the orders of the authorities. According to him, how to enforce the embargo, the company is not yet know, "It is clear that if a resident of the Crimea on the Windows computer is, no one will come to him with a gun and not force to remove the software. But the paid version of the software on the peninsula will no longer be sold. " From the Apple embargo is also not comment. Google and did not respond to requests to RBC.

IT will hole

Forbid to install software on computers located in the Crimea is technically very difficult, but in the delivery of software to the peninsula can be imposed administrative (non-technical) limitations, the general director of the company "Oblakoteka" Maksim Zakharenko. According to him, online services try to block on IP-addresses. There are no service users, as well as register new that as a residence themselves indicate Crimea. But if a person instead of "SevasOpole "writes, for example," Saratov ", check it will be difficult, says Zakharenko:" The spread of piracy, the substitution of the IP-address of a - that's what will happen. That is, formally complied with all, and the real effect will be minimal. "

Technically feasible blocking will be problematic, since the restriction on IP-addresses have a fairly high percentage of error, according to the group vvCube partner companies, the founder of online-pla tformy to attract investment Daniel Chirico. At the same time the company may suffer serious loss of reputation, he predicts.

CEO 4talk, develops eponymous messenger, Sergey Kravtsov sure that the blockade of the Crimea is almost no impact on the US nor the Russian IT-business: "It's just a game of muscles, no more than that." In his view, software products, which imposed a ban on the territory of Crimea are not unique. For most of them there is the replacement of domestic production, for example from the browser "Yandex" or mail "Crimea is neither a Russian" Silicon Valley ", or IT-capital of the world. There's a large concentration of start-ups, and scientific and technological institutions. A user has many options lock bypass, such as VPN. Advanced audience configure VPN for five minutes and go to the Russian neprodvinutye substitutes "- concludes Kravtsov.

As the United States staged a blockade of Iran Internet

Iran is under pressure from US economic sanctions since 1979. The ban fallen, in particular, the supply of high-tech equipment in the country. Over time, the embargo extended to software distribution, Internet services and telecommunication technologies.

year 2009

After the 2009 elections on a wave of protests. It turned out that the people of the country to successfully circumvent the ban. To disseminate information actively protesters used Twitter, Facebook and other services. At this time, the State Department even asked Twitter to management with the request to abolish the planned preventive maintenance.


US weakened the "electronic curtain" in Iran only in 2010, allowing residentsrehydrating free American program and use the free service for communication on the Internet: browsers, platforms for blogs, e-mail, instant messaging service, social networks. Washington explained this dispensation the desire "to provide a general right of citizens to freedom of expression and information."

year 2012

US authorities have opened the Iranians access to the personal communications (Google Talk, Microsoft Live, free Skype), storage of personal data (Dropbox), browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer), the plug-ins (Flashplayer, Shockwave, Java), for reading programs documents (Acrobat Reader). This decision followed a regular anti-government demonstrations.

year 2013

In 2013, Washington authorized to provide the Iranians paid software for personal communication, such as Skype with a monthly fee, as well as communication devices (smart phones, satellite phones, laptops, tablets), peripherals, antivirus software, mobile operating systems.

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