By Tom Cohen
The White House announced Monday that President Barack Obama signed an executive order allowing new sanctions against companies that enable Syria and Iran to use technology such as cell phone monitoring to carry out human rights abuses.
The announcement was part of a broader strategy intended to strengthen the administration's ability to prevent atrocities, including creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board.
Obama spoke about the new initiative in comments Monday morning at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
A White House statement said the executive order signed Sunday "authorizes sanctions and visa bans against those who commit or facilitate grave human rights abuses via information technology ... related to Syrian and Iranian regime brutality."
"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," the White House statement said.
Read more about the announcement here