News24

Iran blocks access to Google Gmail

2012-09-24 13:04

Tehran - Iran blocked access to Google's popular and relatively secure Gmail service on Monday amid first steps by the Islamic republic to establish a walled-off national intranet separate from the worldwide internet.

Access to Google's search page (www.google.com) was also restricted to its unsecured version, web users in Iran found. Attempts to access it using a secure protocol (https://www.google.com) were also blocked.

The curbs were announced in a mobile phone text message quoting Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, an adviser to Iran's public prosecutor's office and the secretary of an official group tasked with detecting internet content deemed illegal.

"Due to the repeated demands of the people, Google and Gmail will be filtered nationwide. They will remain filtered until further notice," the message read.

Google's own website tracking country-by-country access to its services did not immediately reflect the blocks.

Tech-savvy

But several residents in Tehran said they were unable to get into their Gmail accounts unless they used VPN (virtual private network) software.

VPNs are commonly used by tech-savvy Iranians to get around extensive online censorship, though bandwidth of connections through the software is routinely strangled and occasionally even cut entirely.

Gmail is used by many Iranian businessmen to communicate and exchange documents with foreign companies. Iran's economy is suffering under Western sanctions that have cut oil exports and made trade more difficult.

Iranian authorities previously and temporarily cut access to Google and Gmail in February, ahead of March parliamentary elections.

Google's popular YouTube video-sharing site has been continually censored since mid-2009, following protests and opposition claims of vote fraud in the wake of elections that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

Other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are also routinely blocked.

Iran is working on rolling out its national intranet that it says will be clean of un-Islamic content. Officials claim it will be faster and more secure, even though users' data will be more easily subject to monitoring.

Despite fears by Iranians that the new intranet would supplant the internet, Mohammad Soleimani, a lawmaker heading a parliamentary communication committee, was quoted last week by the Isna news agency as saying that "the establishment of the 'National Internet' will not cut access to the internet".

"Cutting access to the internet is not possible at all, because it would amount to imposing sanctions on ourselves, which would not be logical. However, the filtering will remain in place," he added.

Comments
  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-24 13:17

    Great freedoms brought to his nation by that bright-spark I'm-a-dinner-jacket.

      mukosit - 2012-09-24 17:45

      Can our government also implemented it in our Msansi. Oh, I forgot freedom of access to private information. Never mind, Bye

      husaberg.twostroke - 2012-09-24 19:32

      To stop inofrmation to the masses of Iran is a big mistake. We live in a information age/ time period. If the Iranian people had to start striking like the rest of the middle east the government of Iran will be in serious trouble. I think the government of Iran are in serious denial and Im afraid the people of Iran will most defnitely one day turn agains that REGIME. WHAT A DUM GOVERMENT.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-09-24 13:24

    3 Cheers for the government whose members are followers of the peace loving religion. PBUT. OBTW when are you guys starting to sponsor the "spontaneous" uprisings against the unbelieving Google who is trampling over your rights to oppress and keep the country away from the western sponsored imperialist lies propagated by the internet.........

      travis.vermaak - 2012-09-25 12:58

      Censorship due to religious views is oppression. Religion and it's views should be a choice, not forced on you by your government.

  • LanfearM - 2012-09-24 13:34

    Yah go on Iran, block even more technology! You are already far behind in the tech-war anyway. You will not be able to suppress your people forever, another revolution will come and get rid of the illegal president Ahmadinejad. We all know that he lost the election but conned himself into power! Seems that the Islamic world's biggest whip is fear, since they are so afraid of new ideas, the modern world, anybody not Islamic, and so forth. And of course, fear breeds hate breeds violence.

      morgaenart.farto - 2012-09-24 15:29

      @Lanfear there was an uprising in 2009, but Obummer didn't support it as it didn't suit his islamist agenda. Obummer fed those poor protestors to the crocodiles.

  • pisciotta - 2012-09-24 13:35

    If Iran hates America so much it should not use any technology invented in America. Start with the Internet then work itself backwards into total darkness.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-24 13:42

    The iranian population must be getting so sick and tired , of that bunch of psychopaths running THEIR country. One of these days te Iranians WILL loose their FEAR for these thugs, and will than demand THEIR country back !!! It WILL happen!!!!

  • joe.mangena.1 - 2012-09-24 13:57

    A bunch of Bad loosers, these are signs of frustration

  • anakin.skyvader.9 - 2012-09-24 14:46

    This is yet another perfect example of how religion can literally strangle and throttle scientific progress, to the detriment of their own society. Monitor and spy on everyone to keep the dogma and superstitions alive, do not dare to question the status quo. Believe that religion alone can cure all medical complaints from headaches to serious complicated illnesses. Meanwhile back in China technology is leaping ahead in incredibly fast steps, to the point where you can now get an IP SET-TOP box to watch tv with (it's the next step after HD tv) - I'm not advertising this product but use it as an example here - see URL at http://hkmico.manufacturer.globalsources.com/si/6008805256651/pdtl/IP-set-top/1049315537/IP-Set-top-Box.htm Then see further how science leaps ahead at http://www.space.com If you ask me I choose science and technology to take us into the future, not some religion which always and inevitably boxes one into a set paradigm. What if the doctors there need to see an urgent news update on some pressing medical issue and are not allowed to because that particular religion forbids it? Concluding my long comment I wonder how spot-on Isaac Asimov was with his famous "Foundation" trilogy in which "The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics)". [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_series]

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-24 18:26

    Frightened little theocrats. So scared that the free access to information will expose their corruption and their stupid dangerous religion to enquiry and ridicule.

  • James.A.Green - 2012-09-25 09:23

    This is not a result of religion that these filters have been placed. This is an example of the type of people who are allowed to run governments and in turn use religion as a means to cover up their own corruption and place themselves as untouchables. Religion is not the problem, it's the people who are being allowed to lead that are the problem

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