IP addresses are blocked from Cuba and Iran.
Actually, IP addresses are blocked from all countries with United States sanctions. This includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, and Syria.
Who is blocking IP addresses from these countries?
SoftLayer, the IBM cloud services platform.
This blocking comes as a relative surprise. IBM did not make an announcement that they would be blocking the IP addresses from these countries. IBM only has a brief explanation on its website as a series of questions. IBM is accused of silently blocking IP addresses from these countries.
The original article from VentureBeat describes the situation with a focus on Iran. VentureBeat describes how the digital business is effected in Iran. Also pointing out this is the first time traffic is blocked from Iran. It was later discovered that IP addresses are blocked from all countries with US sanctions. This began on February 1, 2016.
Why SoftLayer is Blocking IP Addresses?
The internet message boards have begun discussing the logic behind the IBM decision to block IP addresses from these countries. Some believe it is the legal department being mistaken. Others say IBM is taking a conservative approach to its Internet traffic.
We do not know the particular reason about why this block is occurring. We can only guess that it is to ensure there is going to be no potential business done in these countries. Business as a result of allowing Internet traffic.
It seems like odd timing for Cuba and Iran to have IP addresses blocked by SoftLayer. Especially since SoftLayer competitors are not blocking traffic from these countries.
United States Relations Improving
What is curious about the situation of blocked IP addresses, particularly in Cuba and Iran, is that the relations are improving between the United States and these two countries. Sanctions in both countries are dropping. SoftLayer is blocking IP addresses after improved relations. Relations improving is not the case in North Korea and the Sudan. SoftLayer is still blocking IP addresses where other providers are not.
We can see the effect by using the Datapath.io latency map. We decided to take a look at the comparison of SoftLayer and AWS.
Here is a synopsis of what is going on with the SoftLayer IP address block:
The Cuba IP Address Block
We can see the difference between AWS and SoftLayer. What we see is no monitoring of traffic on the SoftLayer servers. There is a curious thing with traffic occurring in Cuba. It appears there is about a 100ms latency penalty for traffic with Cuban IP addresses.
The Iran IP Address Block
According to our map, not all areas of Iran IP addresses are blocked. As VenutreBeat mentioned, the IP blocking will have large ramifications for businesses in Iran. Gaming companies in Iran rely on the SoftLayer servers. This prevents Iran from taking in revenue outside the country. This will hurt Iranian digital businesses.
The Sudan IP Address Block
SoftLayer servers are blocking Internet traffic in Sudan. The AWS servers are allowing traffic through Sudan IP addresses.
The North Korea IP Address Block
AWS is still allowing traffic with North Korean IP addresses. Again, the SoftLayer servers are blocking traffic.
The silent blocking of IP addresses is going to have business ramifications. This will hurt any company interested in doing business in these countries.
We will need to stay tuned to see how internet traffic moves in and out of these countries.
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