A number of Slack users reported that they have suddenly lost access to their accounts with no warning in what appears to be an aggressive implementation of US sanctions on Iran.
In some cases, users have reported their access to free, public Slack groups being revoked, while access to paid accounts remain. Administrators of the public accounts were not notified of the account terminations affecting their group’s members.
Affected users include a University of British Columbia PhD student, a researcher studying at the Technical University of Munich and many other Twitter users who reported personal travel to Iran in recent years. Affected users reported receiving the following letter:
Slack complies with the US regulations related to embargoed countries and regions, as does every US-based company, it told Tech Crunch. We updated our system for applying geolocation information, which relies on IP addresses, and that led to the deactivations for accounts tied to embargoed countries, said the statement.
We only utilize IP addresses to take these actions. We do not possess information about nationality or the ethnicity of our users. If users think we’ve made a mistake in blocking their access, please reach out to email@example.com and we’ll review as soon as possible, said the company.
Right now, it looks like any travel to Iran (and the associated Iranian IP address) was sufficient to flag an account under Slack’s new geolocation update that triggered the bans.