News / Middle East

Iran Blocks Popular Google Products

Iranian women use computers at an Internet cafe in central Tehran. Many Iranian users are reporting Gmail and other Google products have been blocked.
Iranian women use computers at an Internet cafe in central Tehran. Many Iranian users are reporting Gmail and other Google products have been blocked.
Iranian Internet users are reporting many popular Google products, including its email service Gmail, have been blocked.

Users in Iran reported Monday that Google Search was still available, but any product that required signing into an account was blocked. This included Gmail, Google Drive, Google Talk and others.

“Google is not accessible on https, but it's open on http,” a Tehran-based computer science graduate told VOA in a Facebook interview.

Websites using https are considered secure, while http sites are susceptible to monitoring by virtually anyone, including governments.

“You can search, but any service that requires login, is closed,” the computer science graduate said. “Some people have saved their passwords on their Google accounts, so it redirects them on the https port, and for those people, Google doesn't work.”

Another engineering graduate confirmed this, telling VOA on Facebook that with only http access, “anywhere you go, anything you search, can be controlled.”

The curbs on the Google products 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.

An Iranian group called Islamic Republic Virtual Activists issued a statement Sunday urging Internet users not to use Google services on Monday and Tuesday, following the appearance of the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" and a French magazine’s publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.

The statement accused authorities in the United States and other Western countries of blocking Islamic sites on their Internet services and providing cover for Google, Facebook and other social networks supervised by what it called “the Zionists.”

Technology experts are questioning Iran’s official explanation of the blockages. They say the outage may coincide with Iran’s development of its own national intranet, which Tehran says will be free of un-Islamic content and will be easier to monitor.

One technology expert in Tehran, who asked to remain anonymous, told VOA the anti-Islam video is “just an excuse.”

The video “is on YouTube, and YouTube had already been blocked for a long time. I think this decision was made a long time ago and they just needed an excuse to implement it,” the source said.

Criticism of the decision has not been not limited to Web users. The Iranian website Baztab, which has close ties to conservatives yet is critical of the government, published a report titled “Ignorant Friends in Line with Iran’s Sanctioning Enemies: Gmail is Filtered, Will Google Be as Well?”

The filter has not stopped all Internet users from accessing the blocked sites. Some Iranians are using virtual private networks (VPNs), which are commonly used to access  Facebook, Twitter and other sites that have been blocked.

Iranian authorities temporarily cut access to Google and Gmail in February, ahead of March parliamentary elections. Iran also has censored YouTube, which is owned by Google, since mid-2009, when activists posted videos to the site purported to show  violent government crackdowns on Iranians protesting the presidential election results.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: john from: german
September 25, 2012 9:35 PM
Islam world, you really need to open and become democratic. Just because a video, you become violent and slaughter, now you rob people's right to enjoy the internet.


by: Iranian
September 25, 2012 5:24 PM
Middle class educated Iranians, the most educated in the Middle East, are being tortured by the stupid theocratic government of Iran


by: Shafky from: Peshawar, Pakistan
September 25, 2012 8:08 AM
In Pakistan we also have the same problem. But we still have access to Gmail. The Google Drive is not accessable, as I saved a lot of my Secrete Passwords there, and I dont know if Android users can access. And also I can't access directly to Google Adsense, and for that 1st I search "Adsense" in Google, and then click on Adsense Home to log in there. It's a headache for serious Googlers. Thanks VOA for info.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid