President Obama on Monday issued new sanctions on Iran and Syria, targeted at those who use Internet and computer technology to facilitate human-rights abuses.
“I've signed an executive order that authorizes new sanctions against the Syrian government and Iran and those that abet them by using technologies to monitor and track citizens for violence,” Obama said in remarks at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. “These technologies should be in place to empower citizens and not to repress them.”
The executive order blocks property and the interest on property under U.S. jurisdiction for people who have been involved in “computer or network disruption, monitoring or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human-rights abuses,” according to the order. It also suspends entry into the United States of people linked to such activities.
The executive order specifically names Ali Mamluk, director of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, and the following entities: the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate; Syriatel; the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security; Law Enforcement Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran; and Datak Telecom.
“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,” according to a White House fact sheet.