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Here is the notice:
<paraphrase by moderator>
I am writing to inform you that your Google AdSense account has been
suspended. We are unable to accept accounts where the publisher resides in one of the countries on the United States Office Foreign Assets Control sanction list.
As your country of residence appears to be on this list, we have disabled your account and ads will no longer be served. We are required to withhold outstanding payments from you, and will be refunding advertisers for the clicks accrued on your publisher account.
We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause you.
The Google Team
[edited by: Jenstar at 2:10 pm (utc) on July 23, 2004]
[edit reason] Paraphrased email quote [/edit]
Assuming that you get a reply that says "Sanctions? What sanctions?", you can forward their e-mail to AdSense Support in hopes of clearing things up.
Google may have decided to ban tebrino on the basis of a superficial reading of that list, leading them to conclude that the sanctions applied to Balkan countries. That could probably be appealed. Or, which is unfortunately more likely, they may have concluded that to avoid working with sanctioned individuals from the Balkans, they would refuse to work with ANYONE from the Balkans--on the grounds that they can't spend the time and money to separate out the good gusy from the bad guys. If that's the case, I think tebrino is out of luck.
If the US administration can provide Google with proof that certain AdSense publishers in the western Balkans are connected to undesirables, then I understand Google would be legally obliged to terminate the accounts.
But it's up to the US administration to seek out and identify criminals and criminal organisations if it wishes to place sanctions only on those elements, not to effectively dictate to companies that unless they can prove otherwise, they should assume that the entire population is criminal.
Otherwise we have a de jure sanction against criminal elements only and a de facto sanction against the entire country's population.
Stemming capital exports by criminalising populations. Marvellous.
Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
It doesn't apply here. Google isn't making a legal judgement, it's making a business decision. Google can choose to do business/not do business with anyone it wants to. The US has sanctions against "dangerous people" in some areas.
Google can't possibly do a background check on every person that applies for AdSense, so they instead choose not to do business with those areas.
hyperkik is spot on.
Then still it is rude to take away someone's earnings. They could have said "we are very sorry, due to bladibladibladi we have to cancel accounts in your country, but you'll still be paid what you earned as those were valid clicks that we and our advertisers profited from".
They said they were "required" to withhold outstanding payments, and I don't think their attorneys would let them give the finger to the feds.
But what I said about "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't apply to Google, it applies to the regime.
In this situation Google doesn't have a choice as far as I can see.
I was referring to the Washington administration's apparent stance of: "Well Google, if you want to be their client, you'd better conduct a lengthy and expensive investigation to prove to us that they're innocent. Because as far as we're concerned and until we see any evidence to the contrary, they're guilty."
The law has drawn international criticism for a provision allowing U.S. companies to sue foreign companies that work with the Cuban government. link [library.thinkquest.org]
The U.S. Department of Treasury has ruled that scientific journals based in the United States cannot edit papers submitted by authors from Iran unless they have the government's permission. link [sciencemag.org]
Everytime I download a software package from SUN (Java, etc...), I laugh at some of the export clauses. How the heck can you stop something that's available for download on the WORLD WIDE WEB from making its way in some country you don't like? Assuming you could block off entire countries, is there anything stopping a Brit/Ozzie/Russian from getting said software and sharing it with someone in Iran/Lybia/wherever?
Governments haven't caught on to this whole innernet business, and are trying to implement dumb, unenforceable laws. In this case, they are bad for US businesses, as well as those in Serbia and Montenegro that are trying to build a healthy economy. It's completely perverse.
If I were in such a situation, I would change domain names and find family or friends that are abroad to register with Google and forward me the money.
it is easier to deal with a few disgruntled publishers than a disgruntled uncle sam. it will be dumb for google to cross paths with uncle sam.
as they say -- what is legal may not necessarily be moral :0)