GitHub users in Iran, Syria, and Crimea had access restricted to their own code over the weekend. The reason? U.S. sanctions.
Microsoft’s GitHub has started introducing new restrictions for developers in Iran, Syria, and Crimea following restrictions placed by the U.S. government. “It is painful for me to hear how trade restrictions have hurt people. We have gone to great lengths to do no more than what is required by the law, but of course people are still affected. GitHub is subject to US trade law, just like any company that does business in the US,” GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said on Twitter.
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Friedman acknowledged the restriction after a viral Medium post criticised the company for blocking developers out without any warning, or providing developers with the option to backup their data beforehand. TechCrunch reports that the restrictions are placed on private repositories and paid accounts, meaning users with a private repository will either have to turn it into a public repository or have the repository disabled forever.
That is obviously not very convenient, but GitHub really doesn’t have any other choice as it’s simply following the U.S. trade laws. Friedman insisted that the restrictions were put in place based on a developer’s current residence and location, and not on nationality after the company was alleged to be discriminating against developers from these areas. GitHub is even providing developers with an appeal form in case they believe their account has been wrongfully restricted. It’s not allowing developers to use VPNs to get around the restriction, though.
“We’re not doing this because we want to; we’re doing it because we have to. GitHub will continue to advocate vigorously with governments around the world for policies that protect software developers and the global open source community,” Friedman later tweeted.
GitHub users from Iran and around the world are protesting against the restrictions, with some requesting GitHub to allow them to export private repositories without having then need to turn them into public repositories for privacy reasons.
<blockquote><em><a href="#445751">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>As is the case with most sanctions, the regime is unaffected but the people suffer. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#445799">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>The US is a much freer country than these regimes are but if someone decided they wanted to do a regime change in the US and remove Trump outside of the ballot box, how practical would that be? There's this naive belief that if people in those countries don't like their government they can change it. It's not going to happen and added suffering at the hand of the US just makes it less likely. People suffer but the regime remains.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#445833">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>I missed the part where the US had economic sanctions against Germany and Japan. I was taught that Japan did a sneak attack against Pearl Harbor and consequently we declared war against them and eventually Germany. Not in the slightest similar to this situation.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#445903">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>The details matter and when the details diverge significantly the comparison fails. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#445933">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>The bottom line is that we won the war so any suffering was not in vain. The sanctions continue to fail and thus the suffering serves no worthy purpose.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#446062">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>Iran has become more aggressive since Trump decided to not live up to the commitment the US made (a common Trump scenario from his business dealings). The government of Syria is now in a better position than it has been in years.</p><p><br></p><p>So what's your evidence that sanctions are working?</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#445841">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>That might be a valid point if there were the equivalent to the Atlantic ocean between middle eastern rebels and their leaders or if the British Crown had bombers.</p>