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US ready to ease restrictions on tech companies entering Iran • The Register

The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Friday that it would grant a basic license to waive Iranian sanctions on network and communications providers to curb censorship.

The country is enduring an imminent total outage in the West, with nationwide outages, with access to Instagram, Whatsapp and some cellphone networks blocked as protests continue over the death of Mahsa Amini.

A young woman holds a placard as she protests the death of Mahsa Amini in Iranian police custody in London's Trafalgar Square on September 24

A woman holds a sign during protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in Trafalgar Square in London.last weekend

Amini died in police custody after being arrested by Iran’s ethics police for not wearing a hijab “correctly”. Authorities claim Amini died of sudden coronary heart disease, but eyewitnesses and leaked medical data help to believe the inmates beat her.

“As Iranian authorities shut down their personal access to the World Wide Web, the United States is taking steps to help Iranian individuals freely disseminate knowledge and access factual information,” referring to the U.S. Treasury Department. “The latest guidance will enable tech companies to provide Iranian individuals with additional options for secure third-party platforms and providers.”

The list of vendors within the license includes social media, collaboration and videoconferencing platforms, cloud-based vendors, specific communication tools akin to online translation and e-learning, disparities designed to help unusual Iranians resist citizenship and surveillance Service tools, equally effective anti-malware and anti-tracking software programs, VPNs, etc. The license also removes the requirement for communications to be “private,” which the department says creates “compliance pressure.”

In addition, further actions consist of case-by-case licensing coverage, especially if the exercise allows Iranian builders to develop to a more self-sufficient level through counter-surveillance and censorship tools. Eligible persons do not need to be present to apply for a permit before executing the permit.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted the license information, where, predictably, Elon Musk intervened.

As beneficial as this gesture may seem, it ignores one major factor: the severe scarcity of Starlink terminals that currently exist in Iran, and the impossibility of the country’s authorities to tolerate their importation.Iranian-American Carnegie Endowment Political Analyst Karim Sajadpur Say Musk confirmed to him that Starlink is now up in Iran.

“If someone could send the terminal to Iran, they would work,” Sajadpur said. “It should cost tens of millions of dollars to arrange and save 1,000 Starlink terminals for Iran. This problem can be overcome.”

The political analyst added that the bigger issue is the logistics of getting them into the country, which is “not just active support. [US government] However, Starlink will also benefit greatly from the help of sensible Iranian-American tech talent in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. “

However, there is another hurdle before Musk can salvage the situation.

A tax official allegedly mentioned that Starlink {hardware} is generally not subject to an overall license due to its high economic quality. Still, Musk will likely write to the Treasury Department and ask for approval.

Musk previously mentioned that he would even ask for an exemption before introducing the license.

Another fundamental level is that Iran has well-established offensive cyber capabilities, and public assistance could target these companies.

Last week, the FBI revealed details of a state-sponsored cyberattack on the Albanian authorities community. The company mentioned that risk actors gained access to the technology 14 months before launching a devastating cyber attack.

In mid-September, the United States paid three Iranians linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for issues related to a planned ransomware attack on critical U.S. infrastructure. Many people and two organizations were sanctioned. ®

US could ease restrictions on tech companies entering Iran • The Register

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