Iran to Suspend Google's Gmail

CHIP CUMMINS And JESSICA E. VASCELLARO The Wall Street Journal 02/11/2010 08:13
Iran to Suspend Google's Gmail - Iran - Middle East - Technology - Gmail - Google


Iran's telecommunications agency announced what it described as a permanent suspension of Google Inc.'s email services, saying a national email service for Iranian citizens would soon be rolled out.



It wasn't clear late Wednesday what effect the order had on Gmail services in Iran, or even if Iran had implemented its new policy. Iranian officials have claimed technological advances in the past that they haven't been able to execute.

A Google spokesman said in a statement, "We have heard from users in Iran that they are having trouble accessing Gmail. We can confirm a sharp drop in traffic, and we have looked at our own networks and found that they are working properly. Whenever we encounter blocks in our services we try to resolve them as quickly as possibly because we strongly believe that people everywhere should have the ability to communicate freely online."

An Iranian official said the move was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government.

(...) The move marks another effort by the regime to close the gap with its opposition in controlling Iranian cyberspace, according to Internet security experts. The government has a tight grip over old media—television, radio and newspapers—but learned during the unrest following the contested election last June that the opposition and its supporters dominated new media, including social networking Web sites like Twitter and Facebook.


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