Slack Apologizes for Accidentally Banning Users Connected to Iran

By Nitish Singh / December 22, 2018

Export control and economic sanctions laws in the US prohibit certain countries from accessing US-based services like Slack. Countries like Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and some parts of Ukraine are not allowed to use the app along with a number of other American tech products and services. However, Slack’s implementations of the law have been far from perfect leading to unwarranted bans on users.

On Thursday, a number of Slack users reported that they were wrongly banned. The team collaboration app accidentally banned not only Iranian residents but also users who had visited Iran or were tied to the country in any way. Users lost their data with no option to create a backup either.

Slack apologized for the incident soon after and stated that it will be banning IPs from Iran and other banned countries instead of banning users going forward. The company revealed in its statement: “We did not block any user based on their nationality or ethnicity. As is standard in the enterprise software industry, Slack uses location information principally derived from IP addresses to implement these required blocks. We do not collect, use, or possess any information about the nationality or ethnicity of our users.

Access has been restored to the accounts that were not meant to be banned. Slack will be updating its systems over the next few weeks. Users who travel to sanctioned countries will not be able to access Slack during their visit and access will be restored once they are in a non-sanctioned region. The Trump administration has been actively enforcing a number of sanctions which includes the ban on a number of Chinese manufacturers as well.

What do you think about Slack accidentally banning its users for having ties to Iran? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t be hesitant to join the discussions on the socials as well, on Facebook and Twitter.

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