CDT joined over thirty-five civil society organizations in calling on the U.S. and other governments to ensure that their sanctions policies do not result in people in Russia being cut off from the Internet. Internet access is vital to the safety and well-being of civilian populations in times of war, as well as times of peace. Moreover, online information sources are quickly becoming the only alternatives for Russian people to access truthful information about their government’s invasion of Ukraine.
From the letter:
We urge all actors considering steps that would limit internet access in the Russian Federation to carefully consider the full impact of such measures and their possible unintended consequences, and to act in a targeted, open, and strategic manner, consistent with international human rights principles of legality, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality. We also call upon the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to act immediately to protect the free flow of information in Russia through issuing a General License authorizing the provision of services, software, and hardware necessary for personal communications over the internet, and robustly clarifying and disseminating notice of this license to relevant stakeholders.