EFF has long contended that existing export controls—maintained by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce—hinder the ability of activists in countries like Syria to communicate. Restrictions on the use of hosting services, antivirus tools, and even circumvention technology make the already-unsafe Syrian Internet even less safe for users. Meanwhile, the Syrian government has repeatedly circumvented sanctions for the purpose of surveilling citizens. These controls are not only ineffective, they're counterproductive.
Last week, our position was affirmed by an article in the Washington Post that quoted Syrian activist Dlshad Othman as saying that U.S. sanctions have made it "much harder and more time-consuming to get anti-surveillance tools installed on activists' phones and computers." (Note the article also referenced our recent joint effort to push companies to be more proactive in obtaining licenses and pushing for reform.)