Slack banned many ethnically Iranian users today, even those who don't live there and have no current connections with the country or its institutions. The Verge's Russell Brandom reports:
"In order to comply with export control and economic sanctions laws…Slack prohibits unauthorized use of its products and services in certain sanctioned countries," the notice from Slack read. "We've identified your team/account as originating from one of these countries and are closing the account effective immediately." Users received no warning, and had no time to create archives or otherwise back up data.
It appears Slack simply deactivated the accounts of people they decided were Iranian, with visits to the country (tracked by IP logins) among the suspected internal rationales. It's a very 2018 big-tech implementation of the regulations, and I hope Slack pays dearly for its blithely and incompetently racist interpretation of them.
Many Iranian ex-pats see the company's interpretation of sanctions as overly broad, going far beyond the actual restrictions put in place by the US government. "They are either incompetent at OFAC interpretation or racist," said Oxford researcher Mahsa Alimardani, who specializes in communication tools in Iran.