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Google Releases Software To Iran

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the zomg-they-can-see-your-house dept.

Censorship 286

eldavojohn writes "After working closely with US officials following the lifting of export restrictions, Google has announced that their Google Earth, Picasa and Chrome are now available for download in Iran. US sanctions once prevented this but now Google has created versions of its popular software that block all Iranian government IP addresses from utilizing them — thus satisfying the new restrictions."

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Home of the Free (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34926952)

I always love a government that tells me where I can and can't travel, where I can and can't sell my stuff, who I can and can't talk to--then proceeds to bad-mouth everyone else for not being free enough. Even when I was a kid and everyone was chiding the Ruskies with the "Papers please" and "In Russia you can't travel around or say whatever you want without government permission" I was stuck with the hypocrisy. Try telling the next cop who pulls you over that you don't need to show him your papers and see what happens. Try to take a vacation to Cuba sometime and see how free you are to travel anywhere. Try to export your software (or any other goods) to a country the U.S. doesn't like at the moment (i.e. countries who won't play ball) and see who comes knocking on your door.

What if the Google guys legitimately believe that the Iranian government is running a peaceful nuclear program and is being unfairly targeted by a hostile U.S. ally (Israel)? Not saying this is the case, but shouldn't they still be able to sell them non-weapon/non-military software if they want to? That's hardly an unreasonable "freedom" in a country that holds itself as a bastion of both personal freedom and glorious capitalism.

Maybe I would see it differently if the U.S. were actually at *WAR* with Iran. But if the criterion is "any country we don't like today," then exporting any product must be a goddamn nightmare for any international corporation.

Re:Home of the Free (-1, Troll)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927102)

Libertarian rage! Raaargh! Freedom!

Being required to show that you are a licensed and insured driver while operating a vehicle that requires a license and insurance to legally operate on public roads it just like "papers, please".

Re:Home of the Free (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927194)

Well... yeah, it is. Somehow, "it's the law" is not considered a good refutal of a "the law requires you to do $X" statement.

Re:Home of the Free (3, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927294)

So you don't see any difference between getting pulled over by a cop for a traffic violation and being asked for your license and registration and sitting a coffee shop and having an undercover cop come up to you for no discernible reason and demand your id and travel papers?

Re:Home of the Free (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927418)

In most states both are perfectly legal since 2001. Refusal is a jailable misdemeanor in most cases as well.

Re:Home of the Free (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927556)

I must have missed the memo where a cop is able to stop you for no reason. Last I checked they have to have a reason to stop you, and "he didnt have his papers" doesnt really cut it.

Re:Home of the Free (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927682)

See, I now go by the logic that if it makes no sense whatsoever, it's probably law.

Judge: "Why did you stop the man?"
Cop: "He had no papers."
Judge: "How did you know he had no papers?"
Cop: "He said he didn't when I stopped him."
Judge: "Sounds reasonable. 6 months!"

Re:Home of the Free (2)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927686)

Refusing to show your ID to a cop who demands it for no discernible reason is a jailable misdemeanor?

Under what law?

I've refused to show my ID to cops, and I've been to lectures where ACLU and other attorneys explained to me what my rights were. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmyE6_b_xJY&feature=channel [youtube.com]

The lawyers told me that the Supreme Court decisions on the Fourth Amendment are clear: A cop needs an "articulable reason" to search you, and without that, you have no obligation to cooperate with the cop. They told me to say, "I don't consent to anything" and "Officer, am I free to walk away?"

Driving is a separate issue, since the courts ruled you've made an implied agreement to identify yourself. But parent was referring to sitting in a coffee shop.

Of course cops often break the law, but it's still not a misdemeanor or violation of any law to refuse to show them your ID simply because they demand it without a reason.

Re:Home of the Free (2)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927898)

Of course cops often break the law, but it's still not a misdemeanor or violation of any law to refuse to show them your ID simply because they demand it without a reason.

Even better, under no circumstances are you required to show ID to cops, with or without reason for them to "demand" it. They can detain you (on "reasonable suspicion") or they can arrest you (with "probable cause"); in case of the former, in some states, you have to identify yourself (verbally) if asked, in the case of the latter you never have to do anything (though obviously, depending on the circumstances, things may go smoother with a certain level of cooperation).

Hey, I grew up in a "papers, please" kind of country, some rights still give me the warm fuzzies.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927632)

There are, but yet they're both still forms of "papers, please", and you pretending one isn't just because you happen to support it won't change that fact.

It's like how downloading an MP3 off the net and selling bootlegs on the street are both forms of copyright infringement: you can argue all you like about whether either should be legal or not based on potential benefits and costs to society and all that, but you can't pretend one of them is somehow *not* a form of copyright infringement.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927318)

Maybe he lives in Arizona. [nytimes.com]

Where any person must submit papers that they are a legal US citizen. We've joked with the Hindi Indians at work that they better avoid AZ if they drive out west, but it's true. Unless they can produce their green card or SSN card, they could be detained.

Re:Home of the Free (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927500)

I can see it now:

"Rajiv Jain, while traveling to Arizona, was detained by the local police. Was deported to Sweden - claims he's not from there."

Re:Sweden (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927886)

If they don't watch out they could end up in a Gunther video.

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927714)

Maybe he lives in Arizona. [nytimes.com]

Where any person must submit papers that they are a legal US citizen. We've joked with the Hindi Indians at work that they better avoid AZ if they drive out west, but it's true. Unless they can produce their green card or SSN card, they could be detained.

GOOD!

Re:Home of the Free (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927876)

Maybe he lives in Arizona. [nytimes.com]

Where any person must submit papers that they are a legal US citizen. We've joked with the Hindi Indians at work that they better avoid AZ if they drive out west, but it's true. Unless they can produce their green card or SSN card, they could be detained.

If they are to drive out west as you say, shouldn't they have a drivers license? That is sufficient ID in Arizona, even an out of state license.

Re:Home of the Free (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927902)

Technically this is true in all 50 states, but the law doesn't require that you be a US citizen. It requires that you show proof you have a right to be in the country.

My wife immigrated from Canada. She was required to carry her visa with her when she was on a visa, and she was required to carry her greencard (permanent resident card) with her at all times when she was a permanent resident.

Everyone made a stink about Arizona's law, but we're all subject to it currently.

The issue is that we have tons of laws on the books that no one intends to enforce, especially when it comes to immigration.

Re:Home of the Free (1, Flamebait)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927328)

Libertarian rage! Raaargh! Freedom!

I didn't get that vibe from the OP and I dislike Libertards as much as the next person with half a brain.

The OP pointed out the hypocrisy, trade restrictions can be argued but are generally bad, being forced to show your license is a bit extreme unless you are operating a motor vehicle but travel restrictions just because someone doesn't like your form of government are just plain stupid.

My government (Australia) maintains a list of countries and even provinces and cities within countries where they "strongly advise" me not to travel to. This is normally for good reasons (war, high crime, foreigners getting kidnapped frequently). The only time the government should get a say in where I should go is when A) that place has a credible threat such as an infectious disease. B) we are currently hostile to that nation and by hostile I mean they've closed their borders to us or C) I am a government employee or otherwise subcontracted, employed by, related to or closely associated with a government employee or organisation that could be cause myself to become compromised or unduly targeted.

Here's the travel advice on Cuba [smartraveller.gov.au] and Iran [smartraveller.gov.au] published by the Aussie government.

Your sig... ironic, isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927430)

Calling someone a "hater" only means you can not rationally rebut their argument.

And what does calling someone a "libertard" means?

Re:Home of the Free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927462)

I didn't get that vibe from the OP and I dislike Libertards as much as the next person with half a brain.

Appending "tard" to words that describe people you don't like makes you look like a douche.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927514)

Funny on that travel advice on Cuba... Cuba has one of the world's lowest crime rates.

http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/article/Cuba/Common-Crime-in-Cuba/241 [kwintessential.co.uk]
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1097.html#crime [state.gov] (granted this one is from the US gov't)
http://www.cuba-junky.com/cuba/faq.html [cuba-junky.com]
http://www.havana-guide.com/caribbean-crime.html [havana-guide.com]

Still trust your government to inform you about reasons you might not want to go to other countries?

Capitalism is essential to democracy (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927660)

Funny on that travel advice on Cuba... Cuba has one of the world's lowest crime rates.

Still trust your government to inform you about reasons you might not want to go to other countries?

So, let me get this straight: you do not believe what the US government says about Cuba, but you do believe what the Cuban government says about themselves?

At least, in the USA if the government says something and someone disagrees he can find a privtely funded paper to publish his version [wikipedia.org] of the facts.

Cuba could have the highest or the lowest crime rate in the world, it doesn't matter since the only version that will be published there is the government's.

You can have a dictatorship with a capitalistic economic system, but no democracy has ever survived very long without capitalism. You cannot have an opposition when the government is the only supplier for everything. Try to publish a paper where you have to buy all your ink, paper, printing presses, everything, from the government.

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927782)

Funny on that travel advice on Cuba... Cuba has one of the world's lowest crime rates.

http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/article/Cuba/Common-Crime-in-Cuba/241 [kwintessential.co.uk]
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1097.html#crime [state.gov] (granted this one is from the US gov't)
http://www.cuba-junky.com/cuba/faq.html [cuba-junky.com]
http://www.havana-guide.com/caribbean-crime.html [havana-guide.com]

Still trust your government to inform you about reasons you might not want to go to other countries?

in soviet Cuba, there is no crime, poverty, prostitutes, gays and drug addicts

Re:Home of the Free (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927420)

Considering that there are no other practical modes of transportation in most of the country, purely as a result of government policy, it's exactly like that. There is no choice in the matter.

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927568)

Um, excuse me sir, but this person is expressing a desire for a smaller government and less regulation. That is clearly conservative rage, sans patriotism.

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927630)

But being detained because you are walking down the street and don't have identification on you is. That's extremely common to the point multiple people have told me its illegal to be without ID if you are over 18 in the state I live in.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927680)

Sounds about right to me. Actually, I don't see any evidence that all this, and the cost involved, really makes me, or anyone else, any safer. Perhaps they should focus more on fixing the roads themselves. NYS banned handheld phone use while driving... resulted in a 60% drop in observed use... and no change in accident rates.

They sure were quick to point out that this, somehow, magically doesn't mean that the law isn't effective. The last thing we might want to question is that the law does what its intended to do, harms people for no reason, or costs more than its even worth. I am sure all the drivers in NYS who got caught and paid fines and paid money to insurance companies for years later in enhanced premiums all feel that it is well worth it to.... not make the roads one bit safer!

Re:Home of the Free (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927712)

Herpaderp! I missed the joke!

Did he possibly mean that in the context of how Americans would make fun of Russians for something the Americans do themselves?

Re:Raaargh (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927774)

Be careful. Someone might have a copyright on that spelling of Raaargh. The Gaelic version might be available though.

GaelicZilla!

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927122)

That's hardly an unreasonable "freedom" in a country that holds itself as a bastion of both personal freedom and glorious capitalism.

Do you still believe that is what the US stands for?

Glorious capitalism still thrives, but the rest is just lip service. You guys are fast sliding into 1984, and have been for quite some time now.

Re:Home of the Free (3, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927292)

I always love a government that tells me where I can and can't travel, where I can and can't sell my stuff, who I can and can't talk to--then proceeds to bad-mouth everyone else for not being free enough. Even when I was a kid and everyone was chiding the Ruskies with the "Papers please" and "In Russia you can't travel around or say whatever you want without government permission" I was stuck with the hypocrisy. Try telling the next cop who pulls you over that you don't need to show him your papers and see what happens. Try to take a vacation to Cuba sometime and see how free you are to travel anywhere. Try to export your software (or any other goods) to a country the U.S. doesn't like at the moment (i.e. countries who won't play ball) and see who comes knocking on your door.

Yup.

And back then things really were pretty free and open... Look at what we're putting up with today. You don't even need to try to vacation in Cuba to get an invasive search at the airport.

What if the Google guys legitimately believe that the Iranian government is running a peaceful nuclear program and is being unfairly targeted by a hostile U.S. ally (Israel)? Not saying this is the case, but shouldn't they still be able to sell them non-weapon/non-military software if they want to? That's hardly an unreasonable "freedom" in a country that holds itself as a bastion of both personal freedom and glorious capitalism.

At least with Google Earth I can almost see the logic... It could possibly be used for military planning or something...

Chrome... Umm... Maybe it's got some nice encryption for SSL stuff? Or something? I remember there used to be a problem exporting Netscape back in the day.

Picasa... I'm at a loss. What're they going to do, upload pictures of government office buildings or something? I have a hard time envisioning any way to use Picasa for nefarious purposes.

Maybe I would see it differently if the U.S. were actually at *WAR* with Iran. But if the criterion is "any country we don't like today," then exporting any product must be a goddamn nightmare for any international corporation.

I'm sure it is... But that isn't just a problem with the US. Every nation is going to use its exports as a lever to get what they want. And in order to exert that leverage, they're going to make things more complex/difficult for the folks trying to earn a living off those exports.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927558)

Except that in order to be able to use a lever, you need some sort of fulcrum to exert the force against. So blocking exports from your country, in an age where pretty much any other country is capable of producing the exact same goods, is akin to shooting yourself in the foot. FINE we'll buy it across the street... The US is no longer the only country that has satellites in orbit, or even a GPS system.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927910)

You list different programs, and it struck me funny.

Made me think of the US running an app store, deciding which countries can get which programs. Not a good use of resources. Personally I'd rather they just say no exports to cuba, and spend that money on the app store doing something productive, like studying the sex habits of slugs after drinking alcohol.

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927358)

I also love how poeple try to stand up for governments who are known to stone women to death because they "allowed" themselves to be raped such as Iran and then try to pull out some bizarre moral relativism in order to try to portray the US as equally bad.

Re:Home of the Free (5, Informative)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927540)

apparently you are either woefully uninformed or have a very selective memory regarding US government behavior.

our government has tortured people to death very recently. some of them we knew to be innocent. we have partnered with governments every bit as hateful as iran to outsource even more torture (Egypt as an example.) take your strawmen elsewhere

Re:Home of the Free (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927448)

The US has lost some freedoms, but it has gained others. It is much easier to be openly homosexual, segregation is no longer enshrined in law, and one doesn't have to participate in school prayers.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927850)

The US has lost some freedoms, but it has gained others. It is much easier to be openly homosexual, segregation is no longer enshrined in law, and one doesn't have to participate in school prayers.

It's selfish of me, I know, but I completly disagree with the implied balance of the trade off. I'm a straight, married, middle aged, white male and, while it is a step in the right direction for the Black and Gay communities, my losing personal security, privacy, and the ability to move around the country without being annoyed by whichever LE professional has a chip that day was NOT an acceptable trade off. Nor were any of the other various rights that have been eroded away in the name of "Security". Nor was the laundry list of new corporate rights that not only equal, but exceed my rights as a citizen.

Re:Home of the Free (0)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927460)

Then the google guys also need to reconcile the Iranian government's known repressive behavior with their "don't be evil" slogan.

Or have we already forgotten the crackdowns after the last "elections" there?

But then the google guys also found a way to justify censoring results in china in order to keep doing business there! I guess the slogan should be, "Don't be evil (unless it's really profitable for us to be)!"

Your argument that the US is "just as bad" is morally relativistic bullshit. I'm sure it'll garner you a +5 Insightful here, too.

Re:Home of the Free (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927576)

so by your (extremely flawed) reasoning it was wrong of our government and the EFF to develop and export TOR to countries with oppressive governments so their people could be more informed and interact with the outside world with less chance of reprisal?

Re:Home of the Free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927472)

Comparing an officer asking for your license after pulling you over for violating traffic law to the "paper, please" meme is an insult to those who actually suffered from the horrible abuse that came from the origin of the meme and to all those that still suffer under true oppression and violations of basic human rights.

It's amazing how so many these days relate sociably responsible laws to, somehow, an infringement on their basic freedoms. There are certainly abuses in the U.S. were laws and regulations are both semi-draconian and idiotic, so take some time, do your research and use of those for your next cry against how horrible it is to live in one of the freest societies the world has ever known (I'm including many of the European countries in this as well).

Re:Home of the Free (1, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927960)

I acknowledge that the U.S. in general has more freedom in most ways than any other country I can think of.

However, There are a lot of exceptions, for members of certain groups, and it doesn't serve the purpose of freedom to deny our flaws.

The U.S. is a whole different world if you're black, especially in a part of the U.S. where cops regularly harass blacks. You can look up the Innocence Project for the names of innocent black people who have been wrongly convicted (I met one guy who was released after 15 years). Funny thing -- only 10% of the population is black, but 50% of the prison population is black.

During the civil rights movement in the 1960s I knew someone who was organizing for the right to vote in the South, was picked up by the cops, released to the local KKK, and killed. Quite a few people were stopped by the cops and killed.

For black people in the South back then, "papers, please" really did have the dangers that were associated with certain unfree countries. Blacks tell me they're uncomfortable today when a cop stops them.

You could say, "Yeah, but that only happened to black people." That argument doesn't offer much consolation to black people.

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to name other minority groups who were treated that way in the U.S.

Re:Cop (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927758)

Right, that's the big problem with that rather aggressive video about "don't talk to the cops". If you beeline right for the formalities the cop will get pissed and cite you for something. From what I've seen they wait until they have a backup excuse in hand before pulling you over.

Ummmm ... (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34926964)

US sanctions once prevented this but now Google has created versions of its popular software that block all Iranian government IP addresses from utilizing them — thus satisfying the new restrictions

So, couldn't the Iranian government just use different IP addresses?

This seems like a pretty weak way to get around the export restrictions and sanctions, doesn't it?

Re:Ummmm ... (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927058)

In recent news, the Iranian government have moved to telecommuting until they figure out what a proxy is.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927746)

In other related news, North Korea opens hundreds of Proxy servers for business hoping to get Iran's business.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

theIncredibleHenk (1979522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927076)

Better yet, it just needs ONE IP that is not part of the Iranian 'governmental pool' and a router which can do NAT. Reasonable to imagine the government putting pressure on domestic companies to share their IP with their secret service.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927636)

because international proxies apparently don't exist?

because TOR doesn't exist?

because satellite internet doesn't exist?

from a technical perspective, both the export restrictions and the amelioration made by google are idiotic.

Re:Ummmm ... (2)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927904)

because international proxies apparently don't exist?

because TOR doesn't exist?

because satellite internet doesn't exist?

from a technical perspective, both the export restrictions and the amelioration made by google are idiotic.

in all fairness, they could already use those techniques to download the software.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927952)

sure, but it does rather render moot the point of the guy i replied to. your point just drives home the pointlessness of the GP's faux concern.

Re:Ummmm ... (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927150)

Yes, indeed. Thus Google fooled the US government. And yes, our government is that easy.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927154)

Couldn't Iran just use a VPN to a server in the US to log into google earth? Come on... it's google earth... there is nothing on there that Iran (and any country for that matter) doesn't have already.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927198)

US sanctions once prevented this but now Google has created versions of its popular software that block all Iranian government IP addresses from utilizing them — thus satisfying the new restrictions

So, couldn't the Iranian government just use different IP addresses?

This seems like a pretty weak way to get around the export restrictions and sanctions, doesn't it?

Like they always could?

Or do you think it was magically blocked in Iran?

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927250)

Or do you think it was magically blocked in Iran?

I don't think that at all ... I'm just surprised at how easy it is to sidestep the export restrictions.

"OK, we'll give you this super secret stuff, but you have to promise never to push this button, or it becomes dangerous and we aren't allowed to give you something dangerous."

What next, as long as you mark it as "gift" you can send them weapons? :-P

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927398)

Wouldn't the US Gov want the Iran Gov (and their friends) to be using as much of Google's stuff as possible? Heck even better if they use Facebook, but that's another story...

The last I checked Google doesn't produce weapons. The Iran Gov can easily buy maps that are more accurate than google's (I've seen plenty of mislabelled buildings and stuff on Google Maps).

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927678)

It's not super secret. It's not really secret at all.

It's a fairly reasonable approach, considering that any mechanism that you could use to trick Google's new IP-based system you could have used earlier to simply download and use the software. Have you downloaded Google software before? Did you see where you had to provide documentation that proved that you weren't from Iran?

Anyone with reasonable technical knowhow or decent connections can circumvent export restrictions for downloadable software.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927266)

Maybe they should have reevaluated the situation when the government agreed to the IP restrictions. In giving up so little, they might have given up too much.

"So, you'll accept blocking known Iranian government IP addresses.....interesting.

Would you consider a strongly worded restriction in the EULA instead? Or maybe a graphic on the screen that says Not for Iranian Government Use?"

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927286)

Whoever who could have done anything against the US gov using these applications would already have done this by now. People are talking about proxies etc - can they proxy to a different country?
All they are doing now is to provide these tools to the Iranian citizens - which is a good thing.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

corby (56462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927332)

So, couldn't the Iranian government just use different IP addresses?

Maybe, but I imagine that the Iranian government might have some reservations about downloading and running this software anyway. At least until they figure out whether Stuxnet is built into their 'special' version of Chrome, or if it's an optional add-on.

Re:Ummmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927344)

US sanctions once prevented this but now Google has created versions of its popular software that block all Iranian government IP addresses from utilizing them — thus satisfying the new restrictions

So, couldn't the Iranian government just use different IP addresses?

This seems like a pretty weak way to get around the export restrictions and sanctions, doesn't it?

The US government is just stupid.
Or perhaps the 'special" Google software is now infected with stuxnet. That will fool them.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927392)

I seriously doubt the restrictions were useful anyways. I am sure they could download the software with foreign proxies, or if that failed (it wouldn't) use an agent in another country to forward the program.

So I don't care if we poke holes in the restrictions, they are political and nothing else. If we could make them work that would be great, but realism must be recognized.

Re:Ummmm ... (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927970)

Yeah, but they could already do that, with Google Earth, et al, being available for download in, say, United States.

Because we all know (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34926994)

That they won't circumnavigate it if they want to! That is the same as in iTunes EULA demanding that you don't use the software in creation of a nuclear device.I understand why they did this, but Sometimes you got to respect the law, even if it's a stupid one!

Re:Because we all know (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927560)

iTunes could be used in creating a nuclear device... how??? Is the nuke going to play "It's the End of the World As We Know It" in route to its target? Let's upgrade it to video and play Dr. Strangelove.

Internet censorship sucks (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34926996)

Internet censorship is growing. Traceable IP numbers have become the ultimate censorship tool. Servers and clients need some universal way around it. Tor, i2p, torrents and similar things aren't cutting it because they can't scale, they depend on traceable, censorable IP.

Uhmm... (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927002)

Google has created versions of its popular software that block all Iranian government IP addresses from utilizing them

..this is a joke, right? Google single handily crippled and prevented the Iranian government from viewing Cheney's backyard in Google Earth with a simple web browser and a bunch of hard-coded IPs?

Re:Uhmm... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927688)

As much as they were ever prevented from using the service before.

So... (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927008)

How do you say "proxy" in Persian?

Re:So... (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927060)

How do you say "proxy" in Persian?

I think it's something like "traceable"

Re:So... (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927708)

apparently you have not been on teh intarwebs in a while. proxies pop up and disappear all the time and are ergo disposable. and there's this shiny new proxy-like thing called TOR. i hear that's a bit harder to trace connections through.

Re:So... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927116)

How do you say "proxy" in Persian?

"Kiram tu kunet"

Petty BS (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927016)

Block all government IPs? Yes, because, as we all know, thats so useful. Clearly nobody in the Iranian Government can figure out how to use a proxy... or... get an IP that isn't registered as owned by their government. Yes... way to go. Very effective.

Seriously, must we be the guy who has a petty argument with his neighbor, and builds 12 foot high ugly fence in retaliation? (and yes, people do that)

So there... take that.... nya nya nya. You don't get to use this cool web browser, unless you jump through some minor hoops to make it work. That will really teach you!

Yeah, that'll work (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927022)

Anybody with an ounce of technical knowhow would be able to circumvent this. A government body could easily set up a proxy server in a different country and use that to either run the crippled software or to download the uncrippled versions of the software. Gotta love our government bureaucracy at work. Idiots.

Re:Yeah, that'll work (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927362)

Anybody with an ounce of technical knowhow already used a proxy to download it...the day it came out.

The phrase "a day late and a dollar short" comes to mind. As does the Catholic Church's forgiveness of Galileo.

Maybe these sanctions are someone's personal attempt to be nominated to the dipshit hall of fame?

-Steve

The question is... (1)

Xilver (1607931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927046)

... who even wants to Iran? Has anyone in their right mind ever Iraned a day in his life? I don't see why Google would release software to Iran.

Re:The question is... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927364)

I don't want to Iran. I don't even know what that means, and I don't want to do it.

Re:The question is... (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927626)

It does sound suspiciously like exercise, which I vowed to never do again.

Sadly, this side thread has Flock of Seagulls stuck in my head now, and I'm considering removing it with a drill bit.

Re:The question is... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927470)

Well, i guess somebody accidentally the whole thing.

Re:The question is... (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927748)

it's a new apple product. everyone will want it. it's a pedometer that has gps and tweets your location for you, as well as sanctimonious tweets detailing just how much you've run (even if you actually haven't, though this service is extra).

seriously? (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927050)

Do we really believe as a country that Iran didn't have access through proxies anyway?

I find the whole "can't export 256 bit encryption" and the very laughable series of questions to download Oracle products comical.

Wow (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927080)

When did I miss this? I agree the export regs on open source software are kinda silly (Iranians couldn't possible figure out what an Anonymous Proxy is, right?). But I didn't even notice this happening. Our country's rhetoric hasn't changed one bit (they're still the enemy), but here we are dropping export regulations. Our news media really does suck, this shoulda been bigger news. And the papers wonder why no one's buying. What's the point if you're just going to report the (corporate) party line?

US Sanctions once prevented nothing (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927146)

I am sure they didn't prevent anything, people have learned to get around sanctions as a way of life. Like the flow of water, it finds other routes around the sanction dam.

Re:US Sanctions once prevented nothing (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927502)

I have to point out a few of things:

1. They have tried these sorts of software export regulations before, and it failed miserably before. ::cough::RSA::cough::
2. The US government pretty much invented the damned internet, you would think that they would know how it works
3. The insanity of doing the same, ineffective things, over and over again, is generally lost on anyone in government.

so naive (3, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927170)

This is either astonishingly naive, or propaganda. I can't quite figure out which.

From the US Government, I would believe naivete, given any of a large collection of equivalent moves that are demonstrably idiotic.

From Google, I have a hard time accepting that they aren't smart enough to understand the very many ways that IP-based restrictions can be circumvented by anyone more talented than a sixth -- no, wait -- fourth grader. This is Google we're talking about who have brought us a large number of amazing things that require lots and lots of smarts to implement, and "Hey Muhammed, go to the internet cafe around the corner with this laptop and download Google Earth, please, the US pigs have blocked our government IP address," is something that will occur to the people there. So, Google must be doing this with a wink in order to either further some political agenda, or increase their customer base. Since I am not aware of any political agenda, I'm leaning toward greed. Propaganda either way.

So naivite from the US, and propaganda from Google. Anyone have evidence to the contrary?

Re:so naive (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927296)

I would sooner believe this is just a palatable compromise to some govt officials. Plenty of people in the US govt know about proxies, since we, um, use them ourselves. But perhaps members of congress don't realize how easy it is to circumvent, so it sounds pretty good to them. So we get to look like we're taking a hard line against Iran, without actually having to take a hard line.

Re:so naive (2)

Quantum Jim (610382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927526)

I concur. The export restrictions are frankly ridiculous in this case. If they wanted to, the Iranian government could just send someone to US to download Google's software for free. If Iran can import centrifuges to purify Uranium, they can surely use proxies to download the software directly too (spoofing their country of origin). It's probably a face-saving gesture for he more "senile" members of congress.

Indeed, Google says they worked with US government officials before releasing the software with these restrictions according to TFA. They believe that releasing the software to Iranians will help promote the flow of information and help them exercise more freedom of speech and assembly, as shown in during protests of the 2009 election in Iran. Someone in the US government probably thinks so too.

Re:so naive (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927696)

I would sooner believe this is just a palatable compromise to some govt officials. Plenty of people in the US govt know about proxies, since we, um, use them ourselves. But perhaps members of congress don't realize how easy it is to circumvent, so it sounds pretty good to them. So we get to look like we're taking a hard line against Iran, without actually having to take a hard line.

Proxies are a difficult concept. Taking your laptop to a different location (home, cafe, friend's work) is easy since, I'd wager, most people with laptops already do it. While laptops might not be quite as ubiquitous in Middle Eastern governments than in the US government, I'd expect to see enough of them to effectively neuter this restriction. And that's for the naive politicians who have never heard of a proxy. Motivated IT folks are another matter entirely.

I was in Istanbul (technically not the Middle East, but close enough for the current argument) about ten years ago, and, at the local market there, was able to purchase pre-release versions of all of the latest western-authored software for the equivalent of USD 1 per CD (USD 2 per DVD, if memory serves). Not the current released versions (those were available too), but alpha and beta versions of unreleased packages from Adobe, AutoDesk, Microsoft, etc. This is from young Turkish kids motivated only by pocket money. I'd expect even more from a professional Iranian governmental IT staff motivated by their superiors.

So, now I'm leaning even further away from naivete and toward propaganda.

Re:so naive (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927504)

Bla bla bla bla ..... more non-sense.

Except from IP address, do you know any other way to block someone from accessing your web resources?

Re:so naive (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927506)

Maybe Google intended this fix to be useless so the Iranians would be able to get access to this software. Google is a pretty savvy company, and they are pretty good when it comes to freedom on the internet. Create a cheap way to sneak around the export ban, knowing that the ban just adds an extra jump to accessing the software (How was it blocked before? Regional IP blocking from the download sites? Solve that with a VPN or proxy, too).

Re:so naive (2)

gnieboer (1272482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927598)

But how embarrassing is it to how to leave the secure nuclear targeting center facility with cool security, fancy badges, and lots of plasma screen TV's, and have to leave to go to some random coffee stop to get imagery of Tel Aviv...

Re:so naive (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927612)

Do you have evidence of what you are stating? This is very easy: hi this is my personal believe, if you can't disprove it, it must be true. Are you a religious person by any chance?

Re:so naive (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927716)

It was already downloadable software. It's roughly as inaccessible to the Iranian government as it was before, but now more accessible to Iranian non-government.

Re:so naive (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927724)

Propaganda is refusing to spend time and resources on enforcing an idiotic law of the US government, passed only for political reasons?

Good fucking lord, the Google haters around here are becoming as bad as the "M$" crowd.

Re:so naive (2)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927776)

Maybe Google and the government are smart enough to realize that blocking Iranian government IPs is just as effective as blocking all Iranian IPs - in other words it's not effective at all.

Do you honestly think that if anyone in the Iranian government wanted access to Google Earth, that they weren't able to get it? There are a ton of responses to this very story about how one could easily use a proxy to circumvent the IP blocking, well guess what, that was also possible before.

If anything the ban was naive.

Re:so naive (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927836)

well google obviously doesn't care to implement this restriction properly, and since ip blocking is enough to satisfy the us government why would they waste time doing something else?
also google earth needs to be connected to google server at all the time so just downloading it from an internet cafe won't work

impeding company drain from US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927210)

Eventually I suppose companies should become so frustrated about US intervention that they simply pack up and leave the USA for greener pastures.

Is Ahmadinejad a good dude? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927272)

May sound weird, but read up at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/01/do-we-have-ahmadinejad-all-wrong/69434/ [theatlantic.com]

According to a U.S. diplomatic cable recently published by WikiLeaks, Ahmadinejad, despite all of his tough talk and heated speeches about Iran's right to a nuclear program, fervently supported the Geneva arrangement, which would have left Iran without enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. But, inside the often opaque Tehran government, he was thwarted from pursuing the deal by politicians on both the right and the left who saw the agreement as a "defeat" for the country and who viewed Ahmadinejad as, in the words of Ali Larijani, the conservative Speaker of the Majles, "fooled by the Westerners."

The expression "wipe from the map" means "destroy" in English but not in Farsi. In Farsi, it means not that Israel should be eliminated but that the existing political borders should literally be wiped from a literal map and replaced with those of historic Palestine. That's still not something likely to win him cheers in U.S. policy circles, but the distinction, which has been largely lost from the West's understanding of the Iranian president, is important.

Stupid and a waste of money/time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34927282)

This is a pretty good example of how people outside IT get fooled. They don't have a $#!&*^% clue.

now we have a list... (1)

buanzo (542591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927330)

... of irani government devices and computers. good , iran. your policies are clearly pro-freedom... indirectly! :D

citizens can use but the gov't can't... (3, Interesting)

gnieboer (1272482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927562)

Let's make a huge assumptions that this IP restriction actually works...

What must it be like to download and use a piece of software that you can use but your own government isn't allowed to use? Takes a way some of the perception of the gov'ts power I'd imagine. A bit emasculating even. Which of course might be the reason the USG is allowing this to proceed. A sanction that is truly against the government, not the people.

Sadly, I don't think a software release will result in a democratic Iran. But it would be nice.

Seems like a popular thing to do (2)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34927930)

Good thing the export restrictions were lifted, I seem to remember a story from the other day about the US government "releasing software" to Iran.
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