Tech companies: Preserve access to services and platforms for Venezuelans
Venezuela Inteligente and the VE sin Filtro project, together with ISOC Venezuela, Redes Ayuda and over 40 Venezuelan and international organizations, urge tech companies in a joint letter to preserve access to their online platforms and services for Venezuelans. In response to some tech companies’ overblown reaction to US Executive Order 13884.
“Online services are critical for every day lives of millions of Venezuelans, for their work, education and the exercise of their rights online,” said Andrés Azpúrua, director of the VE sin Filtro Project. “Unnecessary and overzealous measures like blocking all Venezuelan accounts create even more harm to Venezuelans that already struggle to be productive, stay informed and express themselves freely,” added.
Letter to tech companies: Preserve access to services and platforms for Venezuelans
Accessing the Internet and online services are essential lifelines for Venezuelans living in a political and economic crisis. Recently, some tech companies have tragically decided to unnecessarily drop all Venezuelan clients in response to US President Trump's Executive Order 13884; which is intended to block support to the Government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and related sanctioned individuals.
The order, however, doesn't call for an outright ban of services to Venezuelans, only to the Government of Venezuela and sanctioned individuals. If more tech companies decide to follow with similarly overzealous actions, the already vulnerable Venezuelans stand to lose their capacity to work or effectively exercise their rights online.
Internet domains provider Sedo.com LLC, creative platforms and software firm Adobe Inc, and online money transfer service TransferWise Ltd have decided to close venezuelan accounts at large; collaterally affecting their many honest and hard working clients that depend on their software and services and are not targeted by the Executive Order. Hosting platform Heroku similarly had blocked the creation of new accounts from Venezuela but seem to be registering new ones again, we applaud Heroku's reversal.
Accessing the Internet and online services is critical for everything from getting independent news, exercising freedom of speech and being productive during the current crisis, especially when the internet is being heavily censored and users and organizations are under state-sponsored attacks. Outright banning Venezelan users from important services will create more harm and limit their own agency in the last free medium Venezuelans still have access to.
We urge tech companies to preserve access to their services to Venezuelan users. Complying with regulations in ways that help protect the rights of Venezuelans, which are already threatened at home, instead of further endangering them.
- Internet Society, Capítulo Venezuela
- VE sin Filtro, Venezuela Inteligente
- Redes Ayuda
- Cámara Venezolana de Empresas de Tecnologías de la Información y Economía Digital - CAVEDATOS
- Asociación Civil Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia
- Dirección de Telecomunicaciones y Servicios (ULA)
- Comisión Nacional de DdHh de la Federación de colegios de abogados de Venezuela del estado Táchira
- Fundación Fronteras Humanas Fundafronh
- Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
- Promoción Educación y Defensa en DDHH - PROMEDEHUM
- EXCUBITUS Derechos Humanos en Educacion
- fundacion Aguaclara
- Acción Solidaria
- Red apoyaT
- Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones
- Centro de Cultura Digital
- Vicaria de DDHH de la Arquidiócesis de Barquisimeto
- Labo Ciudadano
- Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes
- Epikeia Observatorio Universitario de Derechos Humanos
- Fundación CELTA
- Centro Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Sobre Internet
- Proyecto sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación (PODER)
- Access Now
- Derechos Digitales - América Latina
- Usuarios Digitales
- International Media Support
- Internet Sans Frontieres
- Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
- Roia Foundation
- ProPolitik LLC
- Rubberband Design Studio
- World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)
- Rubberband Design Studio