Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Secretary Clinton, Internet freedom champion, call your office

With Bush policies cruising ahead on auto-pilot, the Obama Administration is forcing Sourceforge, an American provider of open-source software, to block access to Cubans.

Here’s coverage from the Register (UK) and ZDNet.

Supporters and opponents of U.S. sanctions have plenty of legitimate and irreconciliable disagreements, but I wonder if there isn’t agreement on the foolishness of this measure, which hurts only the Cuban people.

If the Cuban government wants to obtain open-source software, it will find a way to obtain it.

The effect of this sanction, which blocks Cuban IP addresses in Cuba, is to hurt the Cuban individual who arranges to have Internet access, stays up until 3:00 a.m. when Cuba’s bandwidth is not so jammed and downloads are faster, and tries to get software from a U.S. site.

The U.S. government action against Sourceforge seems inept in that there are other repositories of open-source software, including Google. Dana Blankenhorn writes at ZDNet, “Will the U.S. government now censor Google while it ostensibly fights alongside it against Chinese censorship?”

Similar Treasury follies discussed here.

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