Once again US trade restrictions have reared their ugly heads and claimed another US-based company.
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.
— Nat Friedman (@natfriedman) July 28, 2019
Microsoft recently acquired the open-source repository GitHub and the company is now being forced to implement some rather stark restrictions to users in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
According to the company's press release, the new restrictions will severely limit the amount of access developers in areas on the blacklist will be granted.
U.S. trade control laws restrict what GitHub.com services can be made available to users in certain countries and territories. GitHub may allow users in or ordinarily resident in countries and territories subject to U.S. sanctions to access certain free GitHub.com services for personal communications in accordance to authorizations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC). Persons in or ordinarily resident in these countries and territories are prohibited from using IP proxies, VPNs, or other methods to disguise their location when accessing GitHub.com services, and may only use GitHub.com for non-commercial, personal communications.
In effect, users in countries on the newly formed blacklist will be left with a handful of free services that don't include IP proxies and VPNs.
There will be an appeal process for developers who may be unduly affected by the restrictions, but GitHub's press release makes it clear that users specifically in locations such as Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria will have no recourse for the time being.