Cloudflare Says White House Asked Tech Firm To Bypass Iran Censorship, But US Sanctions Got In The Way

Cloudflare Says White House Asked Tech Firm To Bypass Iran Censorship, But US Sanctions Got In The Way

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A senior White House official asked US tech company Cloudflare to help with Internet censorship in Iran last September after US sanctions prevented the company from doing so, Cloudflare's chief executive told the Economic Forum. World Cup in Davos on Thursday. Prince Matthew. Swiss. .

“I got a call from a senior White House official whose company makes software that protects users from cyberattacks and encourages activists in authoritarian regimes. "Can you do in Iran what you do in Russia?" he said in a security forum. and technology to circumvent censorship. "Me too. Not I said. [And they] said so. "Why not?" - I said. Because the sanctions did not allow us to leave our weapons in Iran.

After hundreds of protesters were killed in clashes with Iranian security forces last fall, the Iranian government shut down internet access, activists say.

This story highlights the important role big tech companies can play in US foreign policy.

For example, US officials encouraged SpaceX to provide satellite services to Iran and tried to cut a deal with Elon Musk's SpaceX to provide critical satellite communications to Ukrainian forces during the war.

As for San Francisco-based Cloudflare, Prince said a White House spokesman suggested the company could obtain a "license" to operate in Iran, but Prince said it was "too late" for that.

Prince did not name the White House official.

CNN has reached out to the White House National Security Council for comment.

In September, the Biden administration granted certain exemptions from US sanctions on Iran to technology companies that provide means of communication for ordinary Iranians, such as cloud computing or social networking services.

But the move came too late, digital rights activists previously told CNN, and the US sanctions are mainly about bypassing Iran's internal communications network.

Despite heavy US sanctions on Russia following February's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Prince Cloudflare's prior presence in Russia means people there can use Cloudflare's technology to bypass Moscow censorship and read content deemed to be war-related. About 10% of Russian homes use Cloudflare's anti-censorship technology, Prince said.

The White House calls show a complex "trade-off" between sanctions to punish regimes that violate human rights and the transfer of technology into the hands of adversaries, he said.

In response to Prince's comments during a panel discussion, FBI Director Christopher Wray said: "We accept these deals every day."

Many technologies “offer great opportunities, but also great risks in the wrong hands,” Ray said.

Despite Cloudflare's experience in preventing protests abroad, the company has been heavily criticized by human rights activists for its willingness to provide services on controversial platforms such as the 8chan message board.

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