GitHub briefly blocks Open Source projects by Microsoft engineers on trade sanctions

Rob Eisenberg, Microsoft UX’s chief engineer, complained on Twitter that the open source JS framework Aurelia he created had been blocked by GitHub on U.S. trade sanctions. GitHub, Microsoft’s code hosting platform, has attracted widespread attention.

GitHub executives, including CEO Nat Friedman and COO Erica Brescia, were quick to respond, saying it was a serious mistake, saying the blocked account had been restored.

Friedman said on HN that they will investigate to ensure it does not happen again. He explained that if a company does business in the United States, they must comply with U.S. trade sanctions. This includes interactions with U.S. banking infrastructure. So it doesn’t help to have the company based elsewhere.

GitHub briefly blocks Open Source projects by Microsoft engineers on trade sanctions

Under U.S. policy, GitHub cannot provide commercial services to sanctioned countries, but Github still provides access to public software code bases to countries under sanctions, such as Iran, Syria and Cuba.