Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Politics

US Forces Coursera To Ban Students From Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria 306

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the knowledge-is-a-controlled-export dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Coursera is an online website that offers free courses from many of the world's top universities. Now, all students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba will no longer be able to access Coursera. The official blog provides more info regarding the ban: 'Until now the interpretation of export control regulations as they relate to MOOCs has been unclear and Coursera has been operating under the interpretation that MOOCs would not be restricted. We recently received information that has led to the understanding that the services offered on Coursera are not in compliance with the law as it stands ... United States export control regulations prohibit U.S. businesses, such as MOOC providers like Coursera, from offering services to users in sanctioned countries, including Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Under the law, certain aspects of Coursera's course offerings are considered services and are therefore subject to restrictions in sanctioned countries, with the exception of Syria.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Forces Coursera To Ban Students From Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria

Comments Filter:
  • education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @09:48AM (#46099223)

    Because obviously less education is the solution. [/irony]

    • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:00AM (#46099345)

      Because obviously less education is the solution. [/irony]

      Sure, that appears to be the policy answer dictated by the 1% for solving Americas internal problems [startpage.com], why not extend it to our more traditional external enemies as well.

      • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:13AM (#46099455) Homepage

        Obviously you don't want your *own* voters to be educated. They might vote you out of office.

        Your enemies? I'd say education (with associated atheism + lower birth rates) is a good thing.

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          Quite the opposite. They would not let you use them as cheap slave labour if educated after you conquer them economically.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The 1% again, eh? Still blaming them for what the government does or does not do? When are you ever going to start blaming your leadership instead? Even if they are enforcing 1%-friendly policies they're still the enablers.

        If government is able to be bought it's only because government is for sale.

        But no... let's keep acting like the policy makers and policy enforcers are powerless to stop it. Let's keep our heads in the sand about the facts of the matter. Let's yet again vote for the status

        • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:24AM (#46099545)

          The 1% again, eh? Still blaming them for what the government does or does not do? When are you ever going to start blaming your leadership instead? Even if they are enforcing 1%-friendly policies they're still the enablers.

          If government is able to be bought it's only because government is for sale.

          But no... let's keep acting like the policy makers and policy enforcers are powerless to stop it. Let's keep our heads in the sand about the facts of the matter. Let's yet again vote for the status quo and blame big business for the failures of big government. The obvious solution is more regulation. Oh, wait... this is happening because of government regulations. Maybe we can throw tax money at that problem too.

          SSDD.

          The main policy makers and enforcers are part of the 1%. It's not that they are powerless to stop it, they just don't want it stopped. The first step to making real change would be campaign finance reform. Hmmm, I wonder why Congress is to keen on doing that?

          • Even in a somewhat broken democratic republic, it takes more than the 1% to vote in the 1%...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by CanHasDIY (1672858)

              Even in a somewhat broken democratic republic, it takes more than the 1% to vote in the 1%...

              Unless your election turnout is <1%.

              Or, you know - rigged voting mechanisms.

              I used to be against the idea of "verified voting," but with the mass adoption of black box voting machines, [blackboxvoting.org] I think I've changed tack on that one.

              • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

                by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:59AM (#46099827)

                The 2012 US election turnout was around 58%, with only three states having less than 50% turnout (Oklahoma, Texas and W. Virginia). While there could be plenty of vote tampering, doing it on that scale would involve many thousands of people and would require balls the size of an aircraft carrier. So that's probably not the case here.

                • Re:education (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:16AM (#46099947) Homepage Journal

                  The 2012 US election turnout was around 58%, with only three states having less than 50% turnout (Oklahoma, Texas and W. Virginia).

                  Are these numbers independent-third-party-verified, or are we taking the election commission at their word? Trusting the foxes with the henhouse, so to speak.

                  While there could be plenty of vote tampering, doing it on that scale would involve many thousands of people and would require balls the size of an aircraft carrier.

                  Two things the feds happen to have already.

                  Pardon me for not wanting to trust that a government who claims it has the right to kidnap citizens and hold them, indefinitely, without charges, to run a truly free and fair election.

                • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by fnj (64210) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:43AM (#46100165)

                  And in every contest in that election and all elections in recent memory the real choice was made by the power brokers who selected Tweedledum and Tweedledee for the electorate to choose between in every contest. Every contest was a lost cause long before election day.

                • >The 2012 US election turnout was around 58%

                  What is the turnout in the primaries? People don't understand that voting in the final election is the least powerful vote they can cast. Power is in the primaries.

                • by Nemyst (1383049)
                  You really don't need to do vote tampering when it's so much easier to just spin stories and get people to willingly vote for you.
              • Or, you know - rigged voting mechanisms.

                The vote conformed to the polling data well enough in 2012 to predict the outcome in 50 out of 50 states [wikipedia.org]. There is no evidence that the vote was rigged. Besides, the guy supported by the 1% [wikipedia.org] LOST. The voters got what they wanted (or at least what they thought they wanted).

                • Or, you know - rigged voting mechanisms.

                  The vote conformed to the polling data well enough in 2012 to predict the outcome in 50 out of 50 states [wikipedia.org]. There is no evidence that the vote was rigged. Besides, the guy supported by the 1% [wikipedia.org] LOST. The voters got what they wanted (or at least what they thought they wanted).

                  I do suppose there's no need to go through all the effort to rig voting machines, when it's so much easier to rig the "choice" in candidates...

                  In the immortal words of the Prophet:

                  I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here.

                  'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.'
                  'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.'

                  'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!'

                • by ApplePy (2703131)

                  Besides, the guy supported by the 1% LOST.

                  And at the same time, the other guy, who was supported by the 1%, won.

                  You're seriously kidding yourself if you think there's any difference between the two major parties at the federal level. All you have to do is look: has the policy changed from Bush to Obama? Is the war over? Is Gitmo closed? Are the Patriot Act and the TSA gone? Your "liberal" president has upped the spying, fed the "defense" contractors, sent more troops overseas, and cut NASA. The previous "conservative" president raised taxes a

              • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

                by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:49AM (#46100205)

                Or, you know - rigged voting mechanisms.

                Oh, it's rigged alright.

                First you convince large quantities of people to vote against their best interests. That's unfortunately very easy. I was reading yesterday a (ahem) "discussion" on returning to 90% taxation for the top tier. "How would you like it if the government stole 90% of YOUR income was a common retort", yet you can pretty much count on none of them ever becoming wealthy enough to qualify. Nor that even after being plundered of 9/10ths of their income (which isn't the same as assets) that the putative victims could still buy and sell their defenders by the busload.

                Secondly, you distract voters on secondary issues. If you get enough people to vote against a more pro-freedom candidate because he's "too Liberal" instead of the fact that he's willing to fight against further deterioration of our alleged principles, or make single-focus campaigns acceptable (Tax Cuts for EVERYONE! No killing BABIES! I'll say NO to DRUGS!).

                Thirdly, organize elections into single-party primaries. This is a proven technique for filtering out moderates, because the extremists vote for extremists, the moderates tend not to show (and in any event, being moderate for a party isn't the same as moderate for the population as a whole).

                Fourth, turn the election from one-person-one-vote to one-dollar-one-vote. Obviously not literally, and dollars don't buy that many votes in the USA, but they do buy bigger megaphones, and sometimes an election can come down to whomever can shout the loudest.

                Fifth, encourage a feeling of hopelessness. "My Vote doesn't count". "Voting third-party is just throwing your vote away". "The system is rigged, so why bother?"

                And finally, give them tenure once elected. Much of the strength of democracy as implemented in the USA is that we have, in effect, a mini-revolution every few years. If a bad idea comes along, you don't have to live with it until its proponents die off if you can vote in fresh blood. But unlike the Presidency, Congress is designed for long-term membership. Not only is there the natural power of the incumbency, but if you can get your guy onto a major pork committe, you can ensure that no matter how he/she rapes the rest of the country - or even your own district - that this critter will bribe the voters with military bases, construction projects, and other perks.

                • by Quirkz (1206400)

                  And then after all that, even if they see the truth laid out in front of them, they'll just want to go home and hide under the covers.

                • by bigpat (158134)

                  I am very interested in challenging the partisan primary system that is in place in most states.

                  Based on "California Democratic Party v. Jones" I don't think most of the partisan primaries in place across the US would pass constitutional muster because they do essentially the same thing that was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Jones. The partisan primary forces the party by law to endorse the winner of that primary. And further in some states people not of that party are allowed by law t

            • by fnj (64210)

              What appears to be the power of the electorate is really an empty choice which is really only an opiate and a channel for energy to dissipate through uselessly.

              The system top to bottom is dominated by the organized puppet masters in furtherance of their power trip. They have infiltrated, subverted, and bought the media in their entirety; news and entertainment. They run both major political parties in a false show of competition, but actually arm in arm, making sure that no one with any freshness or indepen

              • by causality (777677)

                On top of that one is forced to believe that today's champions of liberty are being systematically co-opted or eliminated. How else can one explain their complete absence from the scene? Where are today's Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and Ben Franklin? You sure as hell won't find them anywhere near the political process as dominated by D and R. You won't find them in the press. You won't find them visible anywhere.

                There are a few like Ron Paul. No they're not terribly visible because of two reasons. One, the media is not friendly to their message. Two, they say funny things that sound really different from a lot of mainstream thought, so it's fashionable to make fun of them and portray them as looney. It's a bit like being too different in the schoolyard and yes, that's about the level of emotional maturity involved in it.

            • by Immerman (2627577)

              Even in a somewhat broken democratic republic, it takes more than the 1% to vote in the 1%...

              Yes, yes it does. Now how exactly is someone outside the 1% o their sponsored flunkies supposed to get the political support and media exposure to become a viable candidate when the two major parties are both pretty completely owned, and in the face of a largely disinterested population that the 1% is doing their best to keep ignorant and highly polarized so that they'll vote against "the enemy" rather than considering a third-party candidate who might actually oppose the 1%ers.

              Doesn't help either that "fi

            • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

              Even in a somewhat broken democratic republic, it takes more than the 1% to vote in the 1%...

              In terms of votes, that is true. In terms of spending money on misinformation to influence those votes, no, the 1%ers are quite capable of doing that.

          • by mi (197448)

            The first step to making real change would be campaign finance reform. Hmmm, I wonder why Congress is to keen on doing that?

            "Campaign finance reform" — First Amendment be damned — is just means to an end. An end to electing different sort of politicians.

            But, face it, a person father to the Left and with a greater contempt for what America used to be (and still remains in some places despite his efforts to "fundementally transform" it) than the current President will not soon be elected... And

            • by causality (777677)

              But, face it, a person father to the Left and with a greater contempt for what America used to be (and still remains in some places despite his efforts to "fundementally transform" it) than the current President will not soon be elected... And for several years he even had his party's majority in the legislature.

              If that were actually true, he would be doing everything possible to reduce the size and power of the federal government. The opposite has happened.

              The contempt Obama shows for America and its past is just a propaganda effort designed to appeal to an increasingly impoverished and angry American voter. None of his actions are consistent with it. "I really don't like the way things are and the way things have been ... so .. I'll do it even harder! Yeah let's perpetuate the power structure that brought

              • by mi (197448)

                If that were actually true, he would be doing everything possible to reduce the size and power of the federal government. The opposite has happened.

                Point was, you aren't going to get anyone "better" than Obama — with or without "campaign finance" reform.

                What you want is someone like Chavez and that will not happen until I run out of ammunition...

                • by causality (777677)

                  Point was, you aren't going to get anyone "better" than Obama — with or without "campaign finance" reform.

                  The two-party system guaranteeing this outcome is a separate discussion.

                  What finance reform does is reduce the pressure to adhere to the status quo once a major-party candidate is in. This can only help.

            • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

              The first step to making real change would be campaign finance reform. Hmmm, I wonder why Congress is to keen on doing that?

              "Campaign finance reform" — First Amendment be damned — is just means to an end. An end to electing different sort of politicians.

              But, face it, a person father to the Left and with a greater contempt for what America used to be (and still remains in some places despite his efforts to "fundementally transform" it) than the current President will not soon be elected... And for several years he even had his party's majority in the legislature.

              If you aren't happy with this presidency, then you never will be happy with any — even if you manage to "reform" campaign finance...

              It has nothing to do with who the president is. The system is set up that those with money get heard and those without do not. Only when there is enough groundswell of public opinion that it outweighs the money side of the equation does the public get heard. Modern politics is no longer about doing what's best for the country or even the constituent. It has become doing what is best for those bankrolling the decision maker.

              For example, take the tea party movement. They are still a minority in the Republican

          • Re:education (Score:4, Insightful)

            by killkillkill (884238) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:52AM (#46099769)
            Historically, all campaign finance reform does is make barriers to anyone who has a voice they wish to get out. Barriers that only the "1%" and their team of lawyers can navigate through. Guess I'm playing my cards as a nut job libertarian here, but this is one area more laws and regulation just make the problem they are trying to solve worse.
            • by fnj (64210)

              Bingo. It is a simpleton's fix that does not address the real problem at all.

            • Re:education (Score:5, Interesting)

              by causality (777677) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:52AM (#46100225)

              Historically, all campaign finance reform does is make barriers to anyone who has a voice they wish to get out. Barriers that only the "1%" and their team of lawyers can navigate through. Guess I'm playing my cards as a nut job libertarian here, but this is one area more laws and regulation just make the problem they are trying to solve worse.

              What I want is the one kind of campaign financing system we haven't yet tried. All candidates should receive a large, very generous campaign fund from the government. It should be an equal amount for all candidates who meet the criteria of being on the ballot. Then, any additional contributions from any source is considered bribery, with the offering party punished severely with hard prison time, and the candidate also punished if he or she accepts.

              That's how you disenfranchise the monied interests and return the campaign back to winning over the voters. An extremely generous, lavish campaign fund that comes from taxpayer dollars would still be very much less expensive than the way we do things now.

              • What kind of barriers to entry on the ballot do you place that (a) prevent people from running just to exploit the lavish campaign fund and (b) don't require a large, well-financed campaign to achieve?
            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              Historically, all campaign finance reform does is make barriers to anyone who has a voice they wish to get out. Barriers that only the "1%" and their team of lawyers can navigate through. Guess I'm playing my cards as a nut job libertarian here, but this is one area more laws and regulation just make the problem they are trying to solve worse.

              There's one area of reform that should be tried - getting back to the constitution and the 1 per 30,000 rule, specifically.

              Yes, with 300M people, that means 10,000 con

    • Business leaving USA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:24AM (#46099549) Journal

      Because obviously less education is the solution. [/irony]

      What we have here is that the US politicians representing a bunch of UN-EDUCATED FOOLS !

      The US politicians don't seem to care that businesses are leaving USA.

      By banning students from specific country to take ***FREE*** university courses offered by top universities from ***ALL OVER THE WORLD*** the United States of America is signifying to the world that "We Do Not Need Your Business Here".

      With this kind of attitude coupled with the Snowden revelations, businesses _are_ leaving the United States.

      • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:05AM (#46099875)

        No, what the US is signifying by banning students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba is that it doesn't want to assist those regimes.

        Why do you think that banning 4 out of 200 countries tells the other 195 countries that they need not apply? You seem to be over-generalizing.

        I also doubt that there is any real loss of businesses from the US due to this, but kudos for dragging Snowden into it. I am left wondering if you might be off your game today since you didn't work in a condemnation of the NSA as well.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No man is an island. What I see as a foreigner in a country not banned (yet) is that the US is a capricious and arbitrary bull in a china shop. You are a petty nation seemingly hell-bent on destroying yourselves and I want to do as little business with American companies as practically possible.

        • They should be pushing courses into these countries as hard as possible. By exposing the students to the rest of the world and having them interact with the multitude of other countries and cultures of the other students, you give them an understanding of what the rest of the world is like and a chance to debate it with others.

          By cutting them off like this, you now have a group of students who were busy educating themselves now unable to finish that process and that will likely result in the student starti

        • "No, what the US is signifying by banning students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba is that it doesn't want to assist those regimes."

          No, what the US is signifying by banning students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba is that it doesn't want to assist the people under those regimes.

          There was a guy from Syria in the first AI MOOC, who kept complaining in the irc chatroom that his internet was getting throttled or shut down by Assad. Banning that guy is helping Assad.

    • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:29AM (#46099589) Journal

      My first thought entirely. Of all the education debates, providing education does have a serious cultural impact: it empowers people. Universal higher education is severely detrimental--especially to the lower class--but it still empowers people: it gives them discrete skills and critical thinking skills, and makes them interact with the world around them.

      When an educated person fails, he decides the system around him is broken. This is a natural consequence of education: you have all these skills, you feel you can apply yourself, and yet you are not being allowed to do so. No faceless evil across the other end of the earth is doing this to you. When you are uneducated and starving, you feel there is nothing you can do; all explanations are readily accepted, especially if we blame someone else.

      Education is the enemy of government. Strong education makes government subordinate; weak education makes government powerful. Since there are more citizens than government, it is strictly optimal for government to be subordinate to the needs of the people.

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:27AM (#46100027)

      Most of the replies here assume that the US has banned providing courses to these countries. That's not the case. The embargos ban providing SERVICES to these countries. It's not that anyone thinks restricting education is a good idea. The law is just ham-fisted. "Don't provide any services to Syria" means ANY services, including educational services.

      That law is ham-fisted is a good thing to keep in mind generally. "You may not hire anyone for less than $10 / hour" means the retarded kid can't be hired as an apprentice, for example, because his work only generates $6/ hour.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @09:53AM (#46099275)

    Why doesn't the US do business with communist Cuba but they do with communist China?

    The US is mad at governments, not the people of countries. Are they insinuating that all citizens are potential terrorists? Why not ban it from Americans too because the US seems to think that every American could be a domestic terrorist -- especially those darned Tea Party and Libertarians. Mention the word constitition and you go on a watch list.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why doesn't the US do business with communist Cuba but they do with communist China?

      Because there are outspoken anti-Castro cuban immigrants that form huge voting blocks in south Florida.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:07AM (#46099405)

      Why doesn't the US do business with communist Cuba but they do with communist China?

      If Cuba could beat China on the price of cheap electrical goods, toys, etc. I think there would be a quick change in policy.

      • And there's not as many feelgood stories about Chinese refugees being picked up by the Coast Guard while swimming across the ocean on a raft made out of an old Chevy to escape their homeland.

        • And there's not as many feelgood stories about Chinese refugees being picked up by the Coast Guard while swimming across the ocean on a raft made out of an old Chevy to escape their homeland.

          "Feelgood," not so much; when it comes to Chinese illegal immigration, you get more stories like this one. [modelminority.com]

    • by andydread (758754)
      Last time I checked it was the Occupy people that got put on a terrorist watch list not tea party of liberterian types but don't let the facts in they way of your trolling.. carry on.
      • Last time I checked it was the Occupy people that got put on a terrorist watch list not tea party of liberterian types

        A) [citation needed]

        B) You should check again. [huffingtonpost.com]

        C) "Tea Party" != Libertarian.

        That is all.

        • by andydread (758754)
          erm the link you posted had nothing to do with Tea Party or Libertarians unless you are implying that TP and Libertarians are "Right Wing Extremists". It seems you are lumping in TP and libertarians with the folks at StormFront and the like.
          • erm the link you posted had nothing to do with Tea Party or Libertarians unless you are implying that TP and Libertarians are "Right Wing Extremists". It seems you are lumping in TP and libertarians with the folks at StormFront and the like.

            Not so much me, as the Department of Homeland Security.

            Regardless of what you preferred media outlet tells you, a group of people who protest armed very much is a group the feds want to keep an eye on. To try and imply otherwise indicates intellectual dishonesty, ignorance, and/or good ol' fashioned bias.

            So, your turn - how about that citation I requested?

            • by andydread (758754)
              Well we can imagine all we want about who may be on a watch list however the documents that have come to light clearly shows that the feds and other police infiltrated the occupy movement. [huffingtonpost.com] Hardly a libertarian or Tea Party group.
              • So, the feds performed surveillance.

                I disagree with them doing it, but that's hardly the same thing as putting the members on a terrorism watch list.

                Congratulations, you've committed the same hyperbolic sin you lambasted me for. Hypocrisy, thy name is andydread.

                • by andydread (758754)
                  Actually no. take a look here [economicpopulist.org] They went even further the designated them terrorists. I don't see anywere where TP and Libertarians treated that way. Just saying its not as simple as you make it out to be the feds are targeting conservatives. Just saying.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      Cowardice. China could do real harm to the US if China embargoed the US. Cuba is too weak to hurt the US. Therefore Cuba can be punished but China must be left alone.

  • by emagery (914122) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @09:55AM (#46099287)
    If, as a nation, you decide that some other nation is an enemy, how better to influence their youth and upcoming generations to become your friend than offering them a good education? All this does is worsen the divide and entrench the relatively few 'bad guys' said other nation may even have running the show into their positions against us. *headdesk*
  • Oh, right... I forgot Coursera offers ONLINE courses!
  • Great news for everyone on the internet in North Korea, they seem to still be able to take Coursera classes! I bet the 1970's Film Appreciation instructor is happy to still have all their students.
  • petition (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Twelfth Harmonic (3464759) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:22AM (#46099537)
    for what it's worth - https://petitions.whitehouse.g... [whitehouse.gov]
  • We need someone new to step up and challenge the DoC export restrictions on published website content as unconstitutional interference with free speech, like we had with DJ Bernstein challenging cryptography export restrictions.

    • by Burz (138833)

      We need someone new to step up and challenge the DoC export restrictions on published website content
      as unconstitutional interference with free speech,
      like we had with DJ Bernstein challenging cryptography export restrictions.

      The official position now is there are no constitutional rights across borders, and the UN declaration of human rights is toilet paper. "Human rights" is something defined/forgotten sporadically by the US State Dept. and the Council on Foreign Relations between war campaigns against third-world countries; it is something relegated to short-term memory.

  • Because everyone knows knowledge and education breeds intolerance!

  • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:27AM (#46099569) Homepage
    The US has enforced digital trade sanctions [eff.org] for years, even LinkedIn has blocked users before in fear of violating export sanctions [arabcrunch.com]. However, this is the first case I've heard of the US blocking access to a free service offered online.
  • by kent_eh (543303) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:28AM (#46099579)
    For others (who (like me) weren't familiar with the acronym MOOC:

    Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) [wikipedia.org]

    Would it be so hard for submitters to expand their acronyms in the posts?
    • Would it be so hard for submitters to expand their acronyms in the posts?

      Yeah, this site needs some editors!

    • Thanks for the informative post. I'm sure many will benefit from it.

      Would it be so hard for submitters to expand their acronyms in the posts?

      Yes -- what is this "U.S." thing that's mentioned in the summary and headline? I spend a bit of time searching, and I discovered it's actually an abbreviation for United States [wikipedia.org]! How about that! It makes things so much clearer if submitters expanded every abbreviation -- I'm still not sure what this RADAR thing is that people talk about -- and while we're at it, maybe we should include definitions for every single technical term that eve

  • Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:30AM (#46099591)

    If MOOC believes that offering education from the world's top university benefits all of humanity, there is a simple solution. Move the company offshore, or obtain a foreign partner.

    The irony with treating this as banned with regards to certain countries that we are not on good terms with is that educational opportunities are very limited in those countries. Having access to education and the exposure to new ideas it brings is an opportunity to change those societies from within. Other than the industrial-military complex, who doesn't benefit from that?

    • If MOOC believes that offering education from the world's top university benefits all of humanity, there is a simple solution. Move the company offshore, or obtain a foreign partner.

      Not that easy a solution, since, in some cases, the US can go after the employees or management of non-US companies that violate US sanctions. Not sure it'd apply in this case, but there's certainly a risk.

    • by jittles (1613415)

      If MOOC believes that offering education from the world's top university benefits all of humanity, there is a simple solution. Move the company offshore, or obtain a foreign partner.

      The irony with treating this as banned with regards to certain countries that we are not on good terms with is that educational opportunities are very limited in those countries. Having access to education and the exposure to new ideas it brings is an opportunity to change those societies from within. Other than the industrial-military complex, who doesn't benefit from that?

      They can certainly prevent US based universities from sharing that information with Coursera if they do not follow US export regulations.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        If MOOC believes that offering education from the world's top university benefits all of humanity, there is a simple solution. Move the company offshore, or obtain a foreign partner.

        The irony with treating this as banned with regards to certain countries that we are not on good terms with is that educational opportunities are very limited in those countries. Having access to education and the exposure to new ideas it brings is an opportunity to change those societies from within. Other than the industrial-military complex, who doesn't benefit from that?

        They can certainly prevent US based universities from sharing that information with Coursera if they do not follow US export regulations.

        Actually, no. If US based universities legally share information with universities or companies in other countries, they cannot be held accountable for what those entities do with it unless it is shown that the whole arrangement was intended to circumvent US laws.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I've got an even easier solution. The US government should obey the First Amendment. Education is speech, and the US government is prohibited from restricting it.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        I've got an even easier solution. The US government should obey the First Amendment. Education is speech, and the US government is prohibited from restricting it.

        The flaw in that argument is in thinking that freedom of speech trumps everything. For instance, revealing secrets that impact national security could be viewed as an exercise of free speech, but that doesn't mean you can't be charged with treason and shot (at least during times of war). Free speech only protects the individual (and in some cases the corporation) in expressing their opinions. It does not mean one is free to disseminate information that is not theirs in the first place (otherwise there would

        • The flaw in that argument is in thinking that freedom of speech trumps everything.

          Freedom of speech is supposed to trump everything else, when it comes to restrictions on or punishment for speech as such. Yes, that does mean that copyright law is probably unconstitutional—the courts actually came very close to throwing it out on First Amendment grounds at one point, but settled for a compromise between principles and short-sighted pragmatism which imposed some restrictions on copyright but still fell short of full compliance with the Constitution. "Information that has been deemed

          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            The flaw in that argument is in thinking that freedom of speech trumps everything.

            Freedom of speech is supposed to trump everything else, when it comes to restrictions on or punishment for speech as such. Yes, that does mean that copyright law is probably unconstitutional—the courts actually came very close to throwing it out on First Amendment grounds at one point, but settled for a compromise between principles and short-sighted pragmatism which imposed some restrictions on copyright but still fell short of full compliance with the Constitution. "Information that has been deemed protected" is an even more obvious conflict.

            Since the founding fathers hung traitors, those who exercised their freedom of speech in ways harmful to the cause, it is pretty evident that even the framers of the constitution recognized that it doesn't trump everything else. All of the freedoms in the constitution have an implied "with the exception of..." clause. For instance, the right to bear arms is not violated by not allowing convicted criminals to own firearms while on probation. The world has changed a lot since the constitution but the basic pr

  • What About Facebook? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:51AM (#46099759) Journal

    Certain United States export control regulations prohibit U.S. businesses, such as MOOC providers like Coursera, from offering services to users in sanctioned countries, including Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Under the law, certain aspects of Coursera’s course offerings are considered services and are therefore subject to restrictions in sanctioned countries...

    Facebook is a "U.S. business" that is "offering services" to users in sanctioned countries. Only it's the Iranian government that tries to block it and redirects you to a page informing users the Web site they are trying to access is "bad for your health." I suppose the difference is that Facebook can be used to help people organize to overthrow the regime the U.S. government does not want, so that makes it OK. Plus, more people using it in a sanctioned country gives the NSA a clearer picture of the trends, attitudes and threats in that country.

    I'm not saying Facebook should be restricted from offering services in countries like Iran. I'm saying laws should be applied equally, not politically.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      My understanding, and I'm not a lawyer (and if I were it would not make me automatically right), is that the restriction being applied to Coursera is export-control law. This is a set of laws that says you can't share details of certain technologies such as missiles, nuclear reactors and bombs, and even the advanced materials required to make such things, even though such information is not classified.

      While it is possible that some of Coursera's subjects pertain to science and technology that falls under th

  • ...than being denied particular coursework on an Internet they're not allowed to access anyway. Things like surviving on $20 a month [worldaffairsjournal.org] and avoiding getting arrested for owning unauthorized shrimp [huffingtonpost.com].

    • Castro will soon pass away. That, and there's already a generation change. Things will get better for Cuba, but it will take some time for the grip of fear to be released. Similar to how the Iraqis felt the psychological weight drop once Saddam was dead.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      On the other hand, they have universal health care, near universal literacy, and usually enough to eat. (I know people who've been to the non-touristy areas of Cuba, and talked to Cubans from those same areas who came over to the US. And no, those people didn't have government spies hanging around when they did so.) Their lives are actually a heck of a lot better than most of the other residents of the Carribean.

  • We're number 1! usa! usa! USA!

  • "United States export control regulations prohibit U.S. businesses, such as MOOC providers like Coursera, from offering services to users in sanctioned countries, including Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria."

    Simple solution: Stop being a U.S. based business. The über paranoia, hubris and bullying attitude of the U.S. government has gotten out of hand. They are single-handedly destroying American technology businesses by eroding potential and existing customers trust (through the abuses of the NSA) and i
  • "Coursera is an online website that offers free courses..."

    TL;DR

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

Working...