Linkedin Kicks Off Syrian Users!

17 Apr, 2009

Updated. Update 2. Update 3: Linkedin Bows: Restores Service to Syrian Users, Says a Human error!

AnasOnline blog reports (Arabic link) that Linkedin (AC Group here) completely blocked all Syrian users. According to the blog post:

3 weeks ago when Linkedin blocked all Syrian IPs users , but they were able to access the site by using IP changing programs (such as Tor), but in the last days, Linkedin blocked all Syrian users even if they changed their IPs,  and when the users try to access the website this message appears to them:

Access to this account has been suspended. Please contact Customer Service to resolve this problem

He also said that once you email Linkedin customer service, they will tell you, your account was blocked because you are Syrian.

For those who do not know Linkedin: it is a professional social networking, like facebook but for the business users.

A source in Syria confirmed to ArabCrunch that linkedin is behind the block, the source back this because according to them, when trying to access linkedin.com the source got” TCP error” with this message:

A communication error occurred: “”

The Web Server may be down, too busy, or experiencing other problems preventing it from responding to requests. You may wish to try again at a later time.

For assistance, contact your network support team.

The source noted that when trying to access the websites that are blocked by Syrian government like facebook, the source only gets a blank page.

The source accessed the website via a proxy program and it worked but could not go any farther.

According to sources in Syria, many US companies block their websites access to Syrian users, Like Google and Sun Microsystems, who both blocks all types of download from their websites, also Google blocks code.google.com a setback for Syrian developers.

“The Syrian user fears the day when he cannot access Gmail or Google search engine.”  Anas said in the post, and I also fear this because I love Gmail so much.

Anas also offer all these blocked programs for free to download at this link (Arabic).

Syrian government on the other hand bans some websites such as youtube and Skype. Also some other Arab countries and ISPs block certain websites, like UAE’s Itisalat blocked few websites and then unblocked them.

It is worth mentioning that there is a US law that forbids US companies from doing certain types of business with Syria, for Example Microsoft maybe not allowed  sell Windows in Syria.

I am not a Legal expert but the law does not say anything about US websites, or if US websites must ban  Syrian Internet users!?

I think that Syrian Internet users are human beings and should be treated equally online,  like any other people in the world. The  Internet is about openness not closing things down. The Internet provided for the 1st time in the history of mankind free flow of information, allowing users to exchange info and to get to know each other, opening borders and bringing cultures together. I am emailing I emailed linkedin, Sun and Google for more clarifications and waiting for Sun’s their answers.

ArabCrunch does not get into politics, but it’s worth mentioning some background about the recent US Syrian Relationship:

US, Syrian relations has been up and down during Bush administration, it has been reported however that Syrian intelligence coordinates with the CIA specially against Alqaeda (WorldTribune and Time ) but things turned severe last year when US forces launched a rare attack last year on the village in Syria ( Aljazeera English report, HuffingtonPost report.) But since Obama took the office, things has eased as many official US envoys have visited Syria and with nice words being exchanged between both parties. Also a  recent news report mentions that Washington has agreed to allow plane manufacturer Boeing to export spare parts to Damascus.

In any case, I call on Linkedin, Google and Sun Microsystems to keep the Internet away from politics and make it freely open, let’s put politics away from the Internet.

Image: joshhough

Update: I did minor edits and I forgot to mention some alternatives to Linkedin: Xing (from Germany)ecademy and Plaxo. Global Voices Online has this story too.

Update 2: LinkedIn repsonded to Anas email:

“Response (LinkedIn – Kelly) 04/17/2009 11:03 AM
Dear Anas,

Per the terms of our User Agreement, use of LinkedIn services, including our software, is subject to export and re-export control laws and regulations. This includes the Export Administration Regulations maintained by the United States Department of Commerce and sanctions programs maintained by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Under the User Agreement, LinkedIn Users warrant that they are not prohibited from receiving U.S. origin products, including services or software. As such, and as a matter of corporate policy, we do not allow member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.
Regards,

Kelly
LinkedIn Customer Support
Customer (Anas Maarawi) 04/17/2009 04:46 AM
Hello,

When I try to sign in to my account I get a message that says that my account is suspended. Can I know why my account is suspended.”

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  1. Hiconomics  |  April 17th, 2009 at 6:22 AM #

    Cool post… and like you I don’t get the need for this… it poses no harm to anyone and is an over-exaggerated response to the US embargo.

    I have quite a few people from Syria in my network, and what’s interesting is that their profiles are still visibly active… I guess the only positive spin on this is that they didn’t de-activate all Syrian profiles… that would’ve been disastrous..

    BTW anyone know of an Arabic equivalent to LinkedIn?

  2. Khaled  |  April 17th, 2009 at 6:03 PM #

    Thanks for this post, don’t know why they keep blocking many services here, and yes we are afraid when Gmail and Greader will be blocked :S

  3. AN@S  |  April 17th, 2009 at 7:32 PM #

    Thanks for the post. I’ve updated my original post and and included the reply I got from LinkedIn about the reason of suspending my account, they said:
    “Dear Anas,
    Per the terms of our User Agreement, use of LinkedIn services, including our software, is subject to export and re-export control laws and regulations. This includes the Export Administration Regulations maintained by the United States Department of Commerce and sanctions programs maintained by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Under the User Agreement, LinkedIn Users warrant that they are not prohibited from receiving U.S. origin products, including services or software. As such, and as a matter of corporate policy, we do not allow member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.
    Regards,”

  4. Jessica  |  April 17th, 2009 at 11:23 PM #

    Just for a little more background, I wrote about Google blocking Chrome in Syria a few months ago here: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2008/10/google-blocks-chrome-browser-use-in-syria-iran287.html

    Same law being cited. Same contradictions in play.

  5. Linkedin Kicks Off Syrian Users! | ArabCrunch « euraktiva  |  April 18th, 2009 at 1:47 AM #

    [...] via Linkedin Kicks Off Syrian Users! | ArabCrunch. [...]

  6. Gaith Saqer  |  April 18th, 2009 at 10:43 AM #

    testing comments

  7. Gaith Saqer  |  April 18th, 2009 at 10:48 AM #

    Thanks all for ur comments @Jessica, would u like to maybe contact a legal expert to tell us if websites are included in the embargo?

  8. Jessica  |  April 18th, 2009 at 12:14 PM #

    The legal rationale for these actions is something I still don’t have a handle on and would like to try to understand. I had a difficult time contacting legal experts who knew and/or would comment when I wrote the MediaShift story, except for the one I quoted. I can try to reach him again and see if he has anymore insight…Or perhaps he can point me somewhere.

  9. Ahmad Fahad  |  April 18th, 2009 at 2:23 PM #

    This is an outrage, my account has also been suspended for about a week now, and when I finally got the reply to the email I sent to support, they told gave me the same reply as you mentioned above.

    I would like to mention that I am an Iraqi, and mostly connect using a proxy, so the suspension is not within the User Terms of Service.

    And to put it simply, I don’t want their stupid service even if they remove the suspension.

  10. Towards A Vibrant Startup Based IT Sector Ecosystem in The Arab World | ArabCrunch  |  April 18th, 2009 at 8:08 PM #

    [...] Arab governments should 1st buy from regional based IT companies if an alternative exsist, and use Open-Source projects rather than property  based systems, why: 1st Open source is much cheaper, more reliable and the support is available online, and we have the regional talent, 2nd by doing so they support the regional IT sector, 3rd: we are not under the mercy of anyone or any political problem, for example Linkedin blocked Syrian users and also Sudan. [...]

  11. Jillian C. York  |  April 19th, 2009 at 7:51 AM #

    LinkedIn is now calling it a human error – if you got an email telling you twhat An@s was told, please let me know – LinkedIn is saying that that response was inappropriate for this issue.

  12. Gaith Saqer  |  April 19th, 2009 at 8:05 AM #

    @jesscia thanx let me know if u get something.

    @Jillian: I got an email from Anas about what he said he forwarded an email from Kelly
    LinkedIn Customer Support. Did Linkedin Told you that? if so please forward the email from them.

  13. Jillian C. York  |  April 19th, 2009 at 8:09 AM #

    Hi Gait,

    I pointed LinkedIn to Anas’s email address; I believe they were going to contact him themselves. They just issued a statement to say:

    “Some changes made to our site recently resulted in Syrian users being unable to access LinkedIn. In looking into this matter, it has come to our attention that human error led to over compliance with respect to export controls. This issue is being addressed tonight and service to our Syrian users should be restored shortly.”

  14. Gaith Saqer  |  April 19th, 2009 at 8:11 AM #

    i emailed linkedin and they did not answer me

  15. Global Voices Advocacy » Syria: Linkedin Kicks Off Syrian Users!  |  April 19th, 2009 at 8:54 AM #

    [...] source in Syria confirmed to ArabCrunch that linkedin is behind the block, the source back this because according to them, when trying to [...]

  16. Breaking: Linkedin Bows: Restores Service to Syrian Users, Says a Human error! | ArabCrunch  |  April 19th, 2009 at 9:33 AM #

    [...] 2009 – 9:32 am | Arab World, International, USA, Web 2.0 | Permalink After ArabCrunch post about linkedin kicking off Syrian users , which caused an outrage among Arab internet users. Linked  Kay Luo LinkedIn Sr. Director of [...]

  17. Ayman Khateeb  |  April 19th, 2009 at 5:45 PM #

    Hi Ghaith,

    regarding Corporate Policies it DOES prevent interaction or business with some countries (mentioned above)..

    this is part of the US blockage on those countries, as most of the Amirecan Originated companies SHOULD obey US Government decisions regarding those countries…

    yes it is all about politics, probably no one cares if people get Gmail or not …

    C’mon, they don’t even care for people dying in Gaza, Iraq, Sudan, Sumalia and many other countries where Blockage was conducted for years resulting in many health and living difficulties, and DEATH…

    anyways, goodthing that Linked-in responded quickly and re-evaluated the situation :)

  18. Syria Sanctioned: LinkedIn Blocks Syrian Accounts  |  April 20th, 2009 at 5:49 AM #

    [...] issue is still at hand, does politics have a place concerning Internet regulations? According to ArabCrunch, LinkedIn is not the first website to ban access to users in Syria.  Google and Sun Microsystems [...]

  19. While White-listing Syria, Linkedin Keeps Sudan Blocked! | ArabCrunch  |  April 20th, 2009 at 11:25 PM #

    [...] Linkedin the business social Network blocked Internet users in Syria, and then unblocked them and apologized as ArabCrunch has reported. I was [...]

  20. Global Voices Advocacy » While White-listing Syria, Linkedin Keeps Sudan’s Internet Users Blocked!  |  April 21st, 2009 at 1:48 AM #

    [...] is a Cross-post from ArabCrunch post with permissions: After Linkedin the business social Network, blocked Internet users in Syria and then unblocked them and apologized (as ArabCrunch has reported.) It was [...]

  21. Tarek Kadoura  |  May 5th, 2009 at 8:33 PM #

    “The Syrian user fears the day when he cannot access Gmail or Google search engine.”
    on Thursday 30th of April Google web search was blocked in Syria “Forbidden”
    and from now on i will never ever look at any Google stuff again.

  22. AN@S  |  May 5th, 2009 at 8:38 PM #

    That’s incorrect, Google web search is not blocked in Syria.

  23. Jillian C. York  |  May 5th, 2009 at 8:42 PM #

    Tarek, you’re still the only person reporting that – other Syrian users are having no trouble accessing Google. Sometimes what you might think is filtering is actually a benign network error.

  24. T.K  |  May 8th, 2009 at 9:16 PM #

    i don’t think it is a network error, because i tried ultra surf (proxy bypass program) and the searh worked fine, i also tried another ISP without the proxy bypass program and the result was the same “403 Forbidden”, so what do you think the problem is?

  25. AN@S  |  May 10th, 2009 at 8:37 PM #

    Tarek, what ISPs did u try?

    Regards

  26. Tarek Kadoura  |  May 27th, 2009 at 9:33 AM #

    ah, i’m sorry for my late reply i had exams.
    after a long search about the error it appears to be a malware
    which redirect the page to another one but i don’t have any security
    program so i searched in the start up programs and it appears that an insecure
    program is running called “SVCNOST.exe” this was the malware because
    my HDD is compressed as well as this file and the original file “SVCHOST.exe”
    stays uncompressed so i deleted “SVCNOST.exe” in system32 folder and now every thing is now ok.
    i owe Google a big apology, Sorry :|

  27. Linkedin, code.google.com and GoDaddy Briefly Unblocked Sudan! -US Congressman Brian Baird: Sanctions do not require blocking! (Exclusive Video Interview)  |  July 27th, 2009 at 11:33 AM #

    [...] blocking! (Exclusive Video Interview) 27. July 2009 – 11:33 am | Web 2.0 | Permalink We reported about Linkedin blocking Syria and reported their unblocking with an apology, we also reported that Linkedin is still blocking [...]

  28. ArabCrunch  |  July 27th, 2009 at 11:01 AM #

    Update: Linkedin, code.google.com and GoDaddy Briefly Unblocked Sudan! -US Congressman Brian Baird: Sanctions… http://arabcrunch.com/2009/07/linkedin-code-googl

  29. LinkedIn Blocks Syrian Accounts | MISEHA  |  October 11th, 2009 at 1:28 PM #

    [...] issue is still at hand, does politics have a place concerning Internet regulations? According to ArabCrunch, LinkedIn is not the first website to ban access to users in Syria.  Other US based websites are [...]

  30. wholesale nike shoes  |  January 19th, 2010 at 11:00 AM #

    LinkedIn is not the first website to ban access to users in Syria

  31. Post Clinton Internet Freedom Speech:US- SourceForge Blocked Syria, Sudan,Iran Korea & Cuba: Open Source Still Open?  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 12:55 AM #

    [...] Linkedin lifted its blocking against Syria after ArabCrunch reported the incident ( and kept it against Sudan ), we heard different reports that American officials are preparing to [...]

  32. Server Support  |  March 20th, 2010 at 7:35 PM #

    the web needs more sites like this. I will visit again

  33. aflamcafe  |  May 17th, 2010 at 10:16 AM #

    the web needs more sites like this. I will visit again

  34. Anas Marawai Founder of a Popular Arabic Android Blog Arrested in Syria, We Demand His Freedom #freeAnas - ArabCrunch  |  July 9th, 2011 at 3:33 PM #

    [...] met face to face, he helped in ArabCrunch fight to end the US sanctions against Syria, and force linkedin to end its blockhead against Syrian users, in which we [...]

  35. Arab Crunch demands Anas’s Freedom « Free Anas Maarawi- الحرية لأنس معراوي  |  July 9th, 2011 at 6:17 PM #

    [...] met face to face, he helped in ArabCrunch fight to end the US sanctions against Syria, and force linkedin to end its blockhead against Syrian users, in which we [...]

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