Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Iran Blocks Google Services to Protest Controversial Video

The Iranian government has blocked its residents from accessing YouTube, Gmail and other Google services. It reportedly took the action in response to a controversial YouTube video featuring an unflattering representation of the prophet Muhammad.

The Guardian reported, “‘Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice,’ said Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, an Iranian official with the state-run body in charge of online censorship and computer crimes, according to the semi-official Ilna news agency. There was no indication as to whether the filtering would be temporary or permanent.”

CNN noted, “The sites were blocked ‘because of public demand,’ Iran’s semiofficial Mehr news agency said Monday. ‘Google and YouTube continued to carry the film clip that insulted our people’s sacred beliefs,’ the agency said, citing an unnamed source in Iran’s Internet Authority.”

Computerworld quoted an Iranian security researcher who tweeted, “Both Gmail and google.com are blocked since last night, but Gmail is not blocked in some mobile operators.”

“This is not the first time Iranian officials have taken steps to censor the Web – or targeted Google,” observed PC Mag’s Chloe Albanesius. “Back in May, Iran was irked that Google removed the name of the Persian Gulf on Google Maps and threatened to sue the search giant unless the name was restored. That same month, an order from the country’s telecommunications minister dictated that all telephone companies, banks, and insurance firms were prohibited from using foreign email services such as Google’s Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Microsoft’s Hotmail.”

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