Iran blocks access to Gmail

Iran blocked access to Google's popular and relatively secure Gmail service 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 (www.google.com/transparencyreport/traffic/?r=IR&l=GMAIL&csd=1230796800000&ced=1348461000000).

But several residents in Tehran told AFP 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 this week by the ISNA news agency as saying that "the establishment of the 'National Internet' will not cut access to the Internet."

He added: "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."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Filipino, Vietnamese troops play games on Spratly island

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipino and Vietnamese troops played football and tug-of-war to foster camaraderie on a Philippine-held island in the South China Sea, where territorial rifts have escalated as China builds up islands there. …

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options