Softlayer / Blocking Cuba IP's ?

Collin Anderson collin at
Fri Feb 19 21:04:00 UTC 2016

Being as Softlayer is owned by IBM and headquartered in Virginia, they are
pretty bound by U.S. sanctions policy, although this is obviously
overcompliance. Essentially if there was to be a prohibited customer and a
threat of enforcement, they want to be able to say they took extreme steps
to prevent use of their network in those countries.

This is also unfortunately a common sanctions compliance practice by
service providers -- GoDaddy had done so for years until recently and
Google continues to for GAE and GCE. Apparently Softlayer's network change
was put into place a couple of weeks ago, and covers all the
comprehensively sanctioned countries -- Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and
Sudan (should block Crimea as well in that case).

It's not clear that their customers know they are blocked from something
like 150 million potential users, and you are right, in fact the Cuba
sanctions regulations were modified last month to expand authorizations on
such transaction. It's extremely counterproductive and in direct
contradiction to well established policy on Internet access in sanctioned

On Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 3:27 PM, Faisal Imtiaz <faisal at>

> Hello All,
> This is a shout out to Softlayer Network Admin / Policy folks...
> We just went thru a painful process to find out that Softlayer has
> recently decided to block Cuba IP Address Space....(on their cloud
> services).
> I am not a politician, nor any kind of a policy expert, However I have a
>  questions for the SoftLayer folks...
> On What basis, legal requirement, logic,  have they taken on the
> responsibility to implement such a Block ?
> Considering the fact that such a block was just put in place about a week
> ago ?
> Last time I checked, blocking any part of the world is not part of any
> legal requirements on any Global Service Provider ? other than a 'company
> policy' ?
> Also, the Last time I checked the US Cuba relations are getting better not
> worse!
> Would love to know what was the reasoning behind such action !
> Thank you.
> Faisal Imtiaz
> Snappy Internet & Telecom

*Collin David Anderson* | @cda | Washington, D.C.

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