April 23rd, 2012
10:23 AM ET

Obama targets technologies that abuse human rights

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

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Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Obama • Syria • Technology
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Donald

    Rabbi – first you do not speak for the Jewish people – I am part Jew and what you say is sickening, provocative and hatred intended. Many more rabbis and Jewish people are attending Christian churches and appreciating and believing in Jesus. The rabbis also have expressed a envy that Christians have Jesus and relate well to him.. So please update yourself and take your extremism to the washroom and flush your discussing thoughts where they truly belong.

    We canadians, USA and NATO give our lives over and over to save other countries from the vary people that talk and condemn as you do. . you yourself are probably a coward that will not fight yourself for what you believe because you rather inside others to do the dirty work you have no guts to do.

    Yahweh – would shower you and those that act like you with thunderbolts of condemnation yet you and others like you are the stem the roots of SATIN and it is you that shall yield in the end to the powers of Jesus, the powers of goodwill and in the end the light will be shining over the heads of people who are loving and caring over those who are the manipulators , the greedy, and the double headed snakes that spit such venom from their mouths.

    But before I close a short prayer that others will not fall for the lack of respect you have for yourself, other jews and other religious people who at least have something to believe in.

    God asked you – If you had a choice – would you prefer brains or trains – You must have replied – YEAH mack – I'll take the track..

    April 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  2. Rabbi

    Israel has very liberal internet.

    What stupid Americans seem not to understand, is that Jews are chosen people.

    We will reap the rewards of our faithful service to Yahweh.

    The goyim of this world should be happy to fight over the scraps that we Jews throw from table.

    Israel will reign supreme over earth, and anybody challenging that assertion will be conquered, with the help of US military.

    You people may not like us Jews, but you WILL learn to fear us.

    If a few of you must die to save a few of us....that's a bargain I can live with. Your own nations agree with me on this.

    Your sacrafices are necessary to ensure the survival of the only democracy in the middle east. Be happy.

    Long may Israel reign.

    April 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
    • joe

      You prolly just created 10 new anti semites....

      Do you really think your people are better than the rest of us??

      Why the fuckkkk should we help your country again??

      April 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
    • valvarez1080

      For your knowledge Hitler thinked the arian people were the chosen people. You can see how chosen people treated non chosen people

      April 26, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  3. Simon

    Glad to see some forward thinking on this. This primarily will serve notice to major software developers that their actions to assist repressive regimes are not going unnoticed.

    April 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  4. Portland tony

    "Another brick in the wall"

    April 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  5. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP solution: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • BeverlyNC

      You have described this Republican correctly. They are traitors of the People and we should remove all of them from every local ,state, and national seat come November and restore not only our economy, but the rights and the dignity of the People who are the backbone of our nation. Republicans want to kick us to the curb in favor of the rich and the abusive corporations.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  6. obama policies are foreign

    ya that should stop the bullets and tanks killing and slaughtering the folks of syria, perhaps the murders of assad were going to hack into the internet of an observatory to see what planet obama is on today.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

      So you think Obama should send in US troops to Syria? And that would accomplish what exactly? More ammunition for the GOP in Nov? Probably, but it would also cause deaths of more US soldiers. I know which approach I prefer, but that's not the way of the right wing is it. If you're not doing what we want, we'll come in and kick your *ss. Typical redneck attitude.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
      • obama policies are foreign

        hey kid relax , i never said anything about going into syria , however i do not see putin being confronted by obama other than asking for favours in south korea in the off mic screw up that caught obama red handed.

        April 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  7. GoAway

    Umm.. sure, you are going to sanction software! Wow! What a waste of taxpayers' dollars. If that was possible do you think the movie industry would still be waiting to prevent piracy?

    April 23, 2012 at 11:19 am | Reply

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