US president Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order Monday authorising his government to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies to carry out human rights abuses.
This follows the GPS, mobile phones, satellite communication and Internet technology reportedly used to fuel activism across North African countries last year – and against regimes in Syria and Iran.
The executive order set for announcement at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will aim to recognize the dangers and the need to adapt American national security policy to a world remade by repaid development in technology, reports The Washington Post.
The order is expected to serve as a warning to the countries and businesses — including those in Africa – to check the kind of technology it develops to avoid future abuses by undemocratic governments.
Senior US administrative officials say the measures should prompt businesses and countries to check the technology they supply to other countries that might be employed in human rights violations as well as take measure to avoid the practices, reports the Post Gazette.
The move is expected to affect Africa where many countries grapple with advancements in technology to create new communication avenues. The Post gazette reports Africa countries have the limited legislations in technology and difficulties in enforcing the law thus unclear dividing line between freedom of expression and abuse.
Social media and cell phone technology is on an incremental trend in African countries. The two were attributed to have assisted in mobilization of uprisings during the North Africa uprising and the Middle East.
Obama is also expected to announce a set of U.S. development “challenge” grants designed to encourage technology companies to develop new ways to help citizens in countries vulnerable to mass killings detect and offer rapid alerts of impending dangers.
In October last year, Obama dispatched 100 U.S. troops to Uganda and other East African countries to help hunt down Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army notorious for civilian slaughter and child kidnapping, according to the Post Gazette.