CODE REPOSITORY GitHub has started blocking its services in countries where US trade sanctions are in place.
The news first came to light late last week when a Russian developer, based in Crimea discovered his account had been ‘restricted' ‘due to US trade controls'.
Because of all the Huawei shenanigans, we widely associate such actions with China, but it's important to remember that there are a whole bunch of other countries under US sanctions right now. GitHub specifically points at Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, according to ZDNet.
We first raised the issue of sanctions with GitHub at this year's Github Satellite event in Berlin, but when we asked if there was likely to be any negative effect for developers in affected regions, CEO Nat Friedman shut us down with a "no comment" before we finished the sentence.
What's perhaps a wider worry for developers is that most of the other options for those affected, like Gitlab, are also registered in the US, so anyone thinking they'll just be able to migrate might face the same problems down the line.
An Iranian user wrote a post on Medium complaining "GitHub blocked my account and they think I'm developing nuclear weapons" and confirming his fellow Iranians have also been shut down.
Github's rules are pretty clear already: "Users are responsible for ensuring that the content they develop and share on GitHub.com complies with the U.S. export control laws, including the EAR (Export Administration Regulations) and the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)," it says in its terms of service.
We've not heard anything from China yet, but we'd bet that anyone who wasn't being blocked there already, certainly is now.
Despite this move, GitHub is generally very protective of their developer pool and will likely have some support available once the picture becomes clearer.
We've asked GitHub for some bon mots on this and we'll let you know when someone responds. μ
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