GitHub Starts Blocking Developers In Countries Facing US Trade Sanctions

After a developer based in the Crimea region of Ukraine was blocked from GitHub this week, the Microsoft-owned software development platform said it has started restricting accounts in countries facing U.S. trade sanctions. GitHub lists Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syris as countries facing U.S. sanctions. ZDNet reports: As the developer reports, his website, which is hosted on GitHub, now returns a 404 error. He also can’t create new private GitHub repositories or access them. While his website could easily be moved to another hosting provider, the block does pose a challenge for his work on GameHub, which has an established audience on GitHub.

GitHub does offer developers an appeal form to dispute restrictions but [the developer] told ZDNet that, at this point, there’s nothing to gain by appealing the restriction. “It is just pointless. My account is flagged as restricted and, in order to unflag it, I have to provide a proof that I don’t live in Crimea. I am in fact a Russian citizen with Crimean registration, I am physically in Crimea, and I am living in Crimea my entire life,” he said. “For individual users, who are not otherwise restricted by U.S. economic sanctions, GitHub currently offers limited restricted services to users in these countries and territories. This includes limited access to GitHub public repository services for personal communications only,” it says.

GitHub notes on its page about U.S. trade controls that its paid-for on-premise software — aimed to enterprise users — may be an option for users in those circumstances. “Users are responsible for ensuring that the content they develop and share on complies with the U.S. export control laws, including the EAR (Export Administration Regulations) and the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR),” GitHub says. “The cloud-hosted service offering available at has not been designed to host data subject to the ITAR and does not currently offer the ability to restrict repository access by country. If you are looking to collaborate on ITAR- or other export-controlled data, we recommend you consider GitHub Enterprise Server, GitHub’s on-premises offering.”

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