Government mandate forces GitHub to impose location based restrictions

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft, GitHub

Once again US trade restrictions have reared their ugly heads and claimed another US-based company.

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 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 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 services, and may only use 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.