Domestic censorship of the internet is one thing, but Syrian internet users face a battle on two fronts. America is doing the job of the Syrian censors.
First it was the whole internet that was blocked in Syria. Then just Hotmail. Then Hotmail was unblocked, and Yahoo Mail was blocked. Then it swapped around again. Then they were both ok. Then Blogger was blocked. Then it was unblocked. Then Facebook was blocked. And stayed blocked.
Syrian internet users run the gauntlet of proxies and tricks to access certain websites deemed a security risk. But now they face a new challenge: corporate America.
If you’re American and you do business with a Syrian, you could go to jail. Some American companies are getting very twitchy and have even stopped Syrian citizens using their service.
Two years ago George Ajjan discovered that ANY website purchased from domain registration company GoDaddy.com would be blocked to Syrian users.
And it seems this perverse practise shows no signs of abating, even as top-level American officials pay visits to Damascus.
Anas reports that all Syrian LinkedIn accounts have just been blocked. He received this explanation from the company:
“Use of LinkedIn services, including our software, is subject to export and re-export control laws and regulations. This includes the … sanctions programs maintained by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
We do not allow member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.”
Some Google services can not be accessed in Syria too. Google is such a principled company.
It seems censorship works both ways.