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Obama Targets Foreign Nationals' Use of New Technologies in Human Rights Abuses

April 23, 2012
President Obama issued an executive order Monday that will allow U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies, from cellphone tracking to Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses.

Social media and cellphone technology have been widely credited with helping democracy advocates organize against autocratic governments and better expose rights violations, most notably over the past year and a half in the Middle East and North Africa.

But authoritarian governments, particularly in Syria and Iran


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