Iran Blocks Google Ahead of National Intranet Launch
In what may be a prelude to the launch of a national walled garden, Iran has begun blocking search and email services provided by Google. While the Middle East has been awash in protest over a film trailer seen as insulting to Islam, “it is worth noting that Iran is not only trying to censor Google’s search engine, they are also curtailing access to individuals’ email services on Gmail,” said David Moon, program director at Demand Progress.
The Iranian government announced on Sunday that Gmail and Google would be filtered nationwide until further notice, and also sent out the notice as a text message to citizens’ mobile phones.
Google Search is accessible but isn’t functioning properly, Google services which need a secure SSL connection can’t be accessed, and Gmail is out of reach, according to the BBC.
There’s speculation that the moves are a response to an anti-Muslim movie that has sparked riots throughout the Muslim world and been banned from YouTube, but some contend the “filtering” of Google services is a prelude to a nationwide firewall Tehran plans to implement.
Beyond Freedom and Dignity?
Perhaps Iran’s latest restrictions on access to Google’s services are a reaction to the anti-Muslim movie that was posted on YouTube recently but which has since been taken down by the Google service.
However, while that might be true, “it is worth noting that Iran is not only trying to censor Google’s search engine, they are also curtailing access to individuals’ email services on Gmail,” David Moon, program director at Demand Progress, told TechNewsWorld. “Government tampering with private personal communications like email should alarm free speech advocates around the world.”
Instead of creating a solution “narrowly tailored to calm public outrage” [over the film], Iran is “once again engaging in blanket censorship,” Moon continued.