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USA Targets Russia Propaganda Networks

USA Waived Russia’s IT Sanctions

The US government has announced waivers on Russian sanctions linked to telecom and internet-based communications. The move was made keep the Russian population connected to Western and European news sources that provides critical updates on Vladimir Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine. This follows the announcement of new penalties against key Russian entities; it appears to be a very deliberate, and targeted retraction. 

The amended sanctions, approved by Bradley Smith, Deputy Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, now re-opens the opportunity for US corporations to license, export, sell, or supply services connected to communications software, hardware, and IT technology.

However, the revised restrictions continue to bar corporations from doing business with the National Wealth Fund, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, and the Central Bank of Russia.

Furthermore, all transaction limitations specified in Executive Orders 14066 and 14068 remain in effect, as well as all related licensing requirements managed by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. 

Russians Access True War Updates

The reasoning behind this decision has yet to be formally publicized by the U.S. government, but easing I.T. restrictions are expected to prevent Russians from being further isolated from Western news sources and social media. This is because the more censored and regulated the Russian internet grows, the easier it becomes for Russian authorities to create filtered, and distorted reality about the war in Ukraine. 

The widespread effect of blockages in Russia has since been highlighted by Cloudflare, an American content delivery network and DDoS mitigation company. This has prompted many Russian users to seek out reputable information sources on Western news sites via VPN.

In addition, Russia launched its own TLS certificate authority a month ago in response to sanctions that restrict websites from renewing expiring certificates, putting users’ privacy at risk. Software licensing concerns and a rapidly unfolding data storage crisis that threaten to undermine internet services in Russia are other consequences of the harsh restrictions on IT equipment.

As addressing these issues with methods that are compliant with industry standards is unlikely, they are predicted to harm access to credible information from within Russia.

In a statement sent to Western IT corporations and governments last month, Russian digital rights activist group Roskomsvoboda appealed for the restrictions to be lifted. 

As a result, the US government may be lightening software and hardware sale and licensing restrictions to keep the “free” parts of the Russian Internet running. The removal of the Information Technology ban is critical to curtail the spread of fake war updates by the Russian propaganda news networks.

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