US to Target Use of Technology for Rights Abuse

Monday, 23 Apr 2012 10:08 AM

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President Barack Obama will issue an executive order targeting foreigners who use new technologies such as cellphone tracking and social media to commit human rights abuses.

The order will allow the United States to impose sanctions for such uses, The Washington Post reported.

Democracy advocates have used technology to organize against repressive governments in the Middle East and North Africa. However, rulers in Syria and Iran have used technology to thwart the democracy movements by conducting surveillance, tracking movement of people and blocking the Internet, the Post reported.

The new policy, announced at a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday, will target companies and individuals assisting the repressive governments. Obama also announced a government panel that will provide intelligence on issues related to mass killings, the Post reported.

“This unprecedented direction from the president, and the development of a comprehensive strategy, sends a clear message that we are committed to combating atrocities, an old threat that regularly takes grim and modern new forms,” Samantha Power, the National Security Council’s senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, told the Post.

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