Iranian Internet Censorship Continues With Google And Gmail Block
Secure services blocked. Is Iran planning a national intranet launch?
The Iranian government has blocked access to Gmail and the secure version of Google.com “until further notice”, according to a report from AFP.
Users in Tehran have reported that the only way to access Gmail is through a VPN, a method used by many Iranians to get around Iranian Internet censorship, while others have said that they cannot access Google’s homepage through a secure protocol.
The move was announced in a text message quoting Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, an adviser to Iran’s public prosecutor’s office and the secretary of an official group that controls Internet censorship in the country. The message confirmed the block, explaining that it was the result of the “repeated demands of the people.”
Iranian Internet Censorship
Some Iranian industries are already required to use email services based in the country and to use the .ir domain, but many continue to use Gmail when conducting business with foreign countries. Further Iranian censorship is likely to exacerbate the problems caused by Western economic sanctions that have restricted trade and oil exports.
It has been suggested that this latest act of Iranian censorship is a precursor to the creation of an Iranian national intranet separate from the rest of the world and free of “un-Islamic” content. Officials claim it will be faster and more secure, but data shared on the network will be easier to monitor.
Gmail and a number of other popular services were temporarily blocked in February ahead of the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution, while social networks are routinely blocked. Google-owned YouTube has been blocked since the middle of 2009 following protests and opposition claims of fixed elections that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office.
Iran has been subject to a number of sophisticated cyber attacks, most notably the Stuxnet and Flame malwares, that have encouraged it to take some of its critical infrastructure offline. However officials have said that the Intranet would never replace the wider Internet because it would amount to a self-imposed sanction.
Are you a security guru? Test yourself with our quiz!