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Iran Lifts Block On Gmail

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the consider-this-a-warning dept.

Censorship 46

redletterdave writes "After blocking Google's Gmail service for a little more than a week, the Iranian government has decided to remove the digital barrier after a barrage of complaints, some of which came from Iran's own parliament. While the Iranian government has released no official statement as to why Google's Gmail service was blocked in the first place, several Iranian news agencies reported the ban was connected to the inflammatory anti-Islam film 'The Innocence of Muslims,' which had been uploaded to YouTube, one of Google Inc.'s many subsidiaries."

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Guiness logic (3, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41526029)

Hmmm... Common carrier sub-business site that doesn't pre-filter uploads receives something legal in that host's country that is found objectionable in your country.

Block another sub-business site from that same conglomerate business...

BRILLIANT!


Are they sure that alcohol is banned in Iran? It seems like a lot of the stuff must be consumed, given the nature of some of the plans...

Re:Guiness logic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526451)

They probably just now realized they don't want people getting 'drunk' on US web services like Gmail that are likely significant resources for the US intelligence community, but I guess it's a little too late if your own parliament has many loyal Gmail fans.

Re:Guiness logic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526547)

Lesson learned: if your product becomes sufficiently popular with sufficiently important people, it will become politically impossible to forcibly suppress it. Factor this into your business plan.

Re:Guiness logic (2)

EnsilZah (575600) | about 2 years ago | (#41526491)

Iranian Censorship BETA.

Re:Guiness logic (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41526541)

Are they sure that alcohol is banned in Iran? It seems like a lot of the stuff must be consumed, given the nature of some of the plans...

Afghan/Pakistani opium [washingtonpost.com] .. Courtesy NATO

Re:Guiness logic (2)

heypete (60671) | about 2 years ago | (#41526645)

I don't think they intended to block Gmail, but since both Gmail and YouTube are accessible over HTTPS (which I presume the Iranian government cannot sniff without setting off the MITM alarms in browsers) and both sites share the same certificate, they probably just blocked all connections based on the SSL cert being used and didn't notice that they also blocked Gmail.

If so, it clearly didn't work as planned.

Re:Guiness logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41528113)

Doubtful. Youtube is on a separate domain outside of google.com and AFAIK the domain is not encrypted by HTTPS.

Re:Guiness logic (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41529703)

Yeah, if there were a way to access youtube content from a google.com-resolving server via SSL, I'd be on that like a fat kid on an ice cream buffet...

Re:Guiness logic (1)

heypete (60671) | about 2 years ago | (#41538031)

Doubtful. Youtube is on a separate domain outside of google.com and AFAIK the domain is not encrypted by HTTPS.

...and yet, if you go to https://www.youtube.com/ [youtube.com] you can connect to YouTube over HTTPS and you get a certificate with SubjectAltNames including:

Not Critical
DNS Name: *.google.com
DNS Name: google.com
DNS Name: *.youtube.com
DNS Name: youtube.com
DNS Name: *.youtube-nocookie.com
DNS Name: youtu.be
DNS Name: *.ytimg.com
DNS Name: *.google.com.br
DNS Name: *.google.co.in
DNS Name: *.google.es
DNS Name: *.google.co.uk
DNS Name: *.google.ca
DNS Name: *.google.fr
DNS Name: *.google.pt
DNS Name: *.google.it
DNS Name: *.google.de
DNS Name: *.google.cl
DNS Name: *.google.pl
DNS Name: *.google.nl
DNS Name: *.google.com.au
DNS Name: *.google.co.jp
DNS Name: *.google.hu
DNS Name: *.google.com.mx
DNS Name: *.google.com.ar
DNS Name: *.google.com.co
DNS Name: *.google.com.vn
DNS Name: *.google.com.tr
DNS Name: *.android.com
DNS Name: android.com
DNS Name: *.googlecommerce.com
DNS Name: googlecommerce.com
DNS Name: *.url.google.com
DNS Name: *.urchin.com
DNS Name: urchin.com
DNS Name: *.google-analytics.com
DNS Name: google-analytics.com
DNS Name: *.cloud.google.com
DNS Name: goo.gl
DNS Name: g.co
DNS Name: *.gstatic.com
DNS Name: *.googleapis.cn

While it appears that my earlier statement that Gmail and YouTube share the "same certificate" is not correct, I never said that both Gmail (or other Google services) and YouTube are accessible at the same URL or under the same domain. It's quite possible to have a certificate be valid for numerous domains, as YouTube's certificate is.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Iranians, being unable to effectively differentiate between HTTPS connections to Gmail or YouTube (from my location in Switzerland, both mail.google.com and www.youtube.com resolve to the same /24 block of IPv4 addresses), simply blocked all HTTPS connections to Google netblocks.

Re:Guiness logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526865)

Hmmm... Common carrier sub-business site that doesn't pre-filter uploads receives something legal in that host's country that is found objectionable in your country.

Block another sub-business site from that same conglomerate business...

BRILLIANT!

Are they sure that alcohol is banned in Iran? It seems like a lot of the stuff must be consumed, given the nature of some of the plans...

It's just easier that way. I don't care what nation you are or what type of person you are - people don't think things through when they're pissed.

Edit: People also do not think things through when pressure is put on them by people who are pissed.

Edit of edit: People also do not think things through when they are scared by people who have reputations of harming others.

Edit of edit of edit: People just don't think things through.

Re:Guiness logic (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 2 years ago | (#41527797)

Are they sure that alcohol is banned in Iran? It seems like a lot of the stuff must be consumed, given the nature of some of the plans...

No, religion by itself is sufficient for crazy plans.

Censorship (2)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41526147)

One of the many things that are worse than censorship is censorship subject to special interests.

Re:Censorship (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526591)

Exacly when and how do you think any kind of censorship is not subject to special inetrests?

Re:Censorship (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41528189)

If you tape everyone's mouth closed, it is bad. But it is much worse to tape closed 99% of the mouths.

Re:Censorship (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 2 years ago | (#41526609)

All censorship is subject to special interests. By its very nature there are always at least two interested parties: those in the party who want to prevent a message from being communicated, and those in the party who are prevented from hearing the message. I suppose it's technically possible for those two parties to be identical, but that's usually called "willful ignorance" rather than "censorship."

Re:Censorship (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#41526879)

All censorship is subject to special interests. By its very nature there are always at least two interested parties: those in the party who want to prevent a message from being communicated, and those in the party who are prevented from hearing the message. I suppose it's technically possible for those two parties to be identical, but that's usually called "willful ignorance" rather than "censorship."

Please define "special."

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41528325)

"short bus"

Re:Censorship (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#41528499)

"short bus"

"All censorship is subject to 'short bus' interests."

Got it. Thanks! :D

Re:Censorship (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41528237)

You are looking at censorship in a different light. My point is that it is better to censor everyone than just most people. You are looking at it from a message standpoint. Of course censoring a message is already a special interest.

Re:Censorship (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about 2 years ago | (#41529629)

How can you say:
you know what's worse than A? Ab!
When Ab is merely a specific part of A?

It's like saying: You know what's worse than murder? When corporations murder.

Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (4, Informative)

aicrules (819392) | about 2 years ago | (#41526161)

The video did not cause gmail to be blocked any more than the video caused terrorist attacks against US embassies. This is getting ridiculous. I mean, yes we joke that Iranian government is terribly inept, but would they really be so thick as to think blocking gmail had any meaningful impact on those who created/supported the video? The video is just serving as a gigantic red herring. More likely Iran had a real purpose behind the brief blockade, and throwing "The Video" out there as a reason is an attempt to distract from that reason.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (2)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41526251)

Judging from the amount of views on Youtube it has received and the amount of reactions I dare say most people don't even know what it is but are just looking for an excuse to smash stuff and create misery in the name of religion/cult.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41529729)

Judging by the timing (on 9/11) and intelligence reports suggesting thusly, I dare say that Al Queda planned strikes on U.S. embassies and scuttled up the protests as cover.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526255)

"we joke that Iranian government is terribly inept, but would they really be so thick as to think blocking gmail had any meaningful impact on those who created/supported the video?"

The answer to your supposedly rhetorical question is a resounding "YES". You have incredibly naive and amazing faith in politicians and bureaucrats.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41526361)

"we joke that Iranian government is terribly inept, but would they really be so thick as to think blocking gmail had any meaningful impact on those who created/supported the video?"

The answer to your supposedly rhetorical question is a resounding "YES". You have incredibly naive and amazing faith in politicians and bureaucrats.

The three morons who created the video originally titled it "Innocence of Bn Laden", it was a half-witted attempt to smoke out would-be terrorists in a Los Angeles theatre they had rented for 1 showing which nobody attended.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about 2 years ago | (#41526437)

People like to speculate, and, in the absence of any facts, they'll speculate wildly.

I agree with you, though. Most politicians are opportunists, and they'll never let a good tragedy or outrage go to waste.

The Video Is a Piece of a Large Picture (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41526605)

The video did not cause gmail to be blocked any more than the video caused terrorist attacks against US embassies.

The video did not cause a terrorist attack on the US embassies but you would have to agree it gave the people planning the attacks some really good cover from citizens that might have been unwilling under normal circumstances to storm United States embassies, right? The video was used in the attacks as a device. Likewise, you could call the video "the straw that broke the camel's back" or a bigger piece of the picture for Iran's blockage of Gmail but to say it played no role is purely speculation. Do you have an alternative theory or is it simply just a hunch? Do you speak Farsi? Are you situated in Tehran, roaming about and getting a feeling for the climate of the people? No? You're just sitting comfortably at your desk halfway across the world? So how do you know the video caused no unrest?

I mean, yes we joke that Iranian government is terribly inept, but would they really be so thick as to think blocking gmail had any meaningful impact on those who created/supported the video?

I thought the purpose was to punish Google for allowing the video to be uploaded at all (and it still remains in lengthy trailer format for most of the world's population to view). The government picked a length of time that they felt would cause an exodus of users from Gmail to another provider -- hopefully a local one that dishes up information without resistance to the Iranian government. More importantly, one that is not associated as the web host of "Innocence of Muslims" trailers.

The video is just serving as a gigantic red herring. More likely Iran had a real purpose behind the brief blockade, and throwing "The Video" out there as a reason is an attempt to distract from that reason.

Then what was it? Sure, relations with the US are strained. Sure, their currency just hit an all-time low against the dollar [bbc.co.uk] . But calling this a "red herring" requires you to tell us what the real purpose was. Otherwise there's a pretty simple cause and effect in my mind: Google still lets Americans watch movie trailer so therefore Iran government gives its citizens a reason not to use Google services. What is so abnormal about that logic? It makes about as much sense as US does not like Iranian Government so US places trade embargoes on all of Iranian goods, companies and services.

Re:The Video Is a Piece of a Large Picture (2)

aicrules (819392) | about 2 years ago | (#41526933)

There is a larger picture, but it doesn't include THE VIDEO as any substantial portion. As the article states, Youtube was blocked long before that video was release. The Iranian government hasn't actually stated why the block of gmail was put in place. Just some news agency speculation. Later they mention how Iranian government is well known for having blocked any sites that express anti-government sentiments.

Now while the article says there has been no official reason given for the gmail block, later a rep from their Telecom committee in charge of doing these things said it was an unintended part of a further attempt enhance the Youtube block that was already in place. Again, the Youtube block preceded THE VIDEO.

I can't speculate on what they were really trying to accomplish, but it is clear to me that news article used the popularity of THE VIDEO just to be more topical. It had nothing to do with it.

Re:The Video Is a Piece of a Large Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41527241)

There is a larger picture, but it doesn't include THE VIDEO as any substantial portion. As the article states, Youtube was blocked long before that video was release. The Iranian government hasn't actually stated why the block of gmail was put in place.

You're muddying up this discussion by discussing both the blockage of YouTube and GMail. Which one are we talking about here? The GMail block is what this article is about. The latest GMail block lasted one week (from Sept 23 to Oct 1). "Innocence of Muslims" trailer has been out for months but only recently translated to many languages. They quote Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, a member of a government Internet watchdog committee, who says this:

Aghamiri told the Mehr news agency that the Gmail block was an “unintended consequence” of Iran’s attempt to reinforce the YouTube block to prevent users from watching the film.

I don't understand what you are arguing for here, it's pretty clear that this is related to the Iranian government spanking Google. Okay so the YouTube block had been in place before this and Aghamiri isn't telling the truth. Obviously they knew what they were doing and they were trying to get their citizens to stop using Google Mail. What does blocking Google Mail accomplish for them suppressing anti-government sentiments?

Later they mention how Iranian government is well known for having blocked any sites that express anti-government sentiments.

How!? Explain this "red herring"! I'm not saying you're wrong I just fail to see how blocking GMail would suppress anti-government sentiments!

Re:The Video Is a Piece of a Large Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41529801)

The video is a red herring. There's always some picture, video, news report, etc. that someone could get mad over. An operation was planned and the movie was pointed to as a reason for the attacks, which had the protests as cover. That particular movie is inconsequential to the big picture. It literally could have been almost anything.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526615)

I mean, yes we joke that Iranian government is terribly inept, but would they really be so thick as to think blocking gmail had any meaningful impact on those who created/supported the video?

The Iranian government feels that the video is inappropriate. Google (via YouTube) is currently displaying the video. Boycotting Google is a reasonable response to Google doing something that you feel is inappropriate. Whether it also impacts those who created or actively supported the video is not necessary to make that decision.

The issue here is that the Iranian government probably should not be allowed to decide that the Iranian people should have to boycott Google. This seems something that the people are quite capable of deciding for themselves. Especially since they may have established processes that are reliant on their gmail address.

Re:Give up on blaming the video FOR ANYTHING (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#41527017)

The video did not cause gmail to be blocked any more than the video caused terrorist attacks against US embassies. This is getting ridiculous. I mean, yes we joke that Iranian government is terribly inept, but would they really be so thick as to think blocking gmail had any meaningful impact on those who created/supported the video? The video is just serving as a gigantic red herring. More likely Iran had a real purpose behind the brief blockade, and throwing "The Video" out there as a reason is an attempt to distract from that reason.

I don't know about you, but if someone has severe reactions toward something I put out and can't even remain calm enough to argue, I would feel my extreme [video / print / speech / text] got it's message across. Also, when it gets such a pissed response that people spread the information more quickly and thoroughly and even the spreading methods get blocked, I would have a self-importance glazing moment.

I learned when I was a kid how to prevent amplified reactions, and that's to not react. But what's logic got to do with this kind of junk? :)

Frist 4'sot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526263)

The country isn't run by the parliament (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41526321)

It's run by the Republican Guard. They let the mullahs and ayatollah go on thinking they run things, also leave civilian stuff to them, too, but the hard decisions on nuclear research, cracking skulls, rigging elections, that's done by the Republican Guard. If the religious establishment think they really run things, try reigning in the Republican Guard and see what happens.

Re:The country isn't run by the parliament (1)

NSash (711724) | about 2 years ago | (#41526859)

It's run by the Republican Guard. They let the mullahs and ayatollah go on thinking they run things, also leave civilian stuff to them, too, but the hard decisions on nuclear research, cracking skulls, rigging elections, that's done by the Republican Guard. If the religious establishment think they really run things, try reigning in the Republican Guard and see what happens.

(Quibbling) You're thinking of the Revolutionary Guard. The Republic Guard is from the other Ira[nq].

I'm not sure you're correct, though. Iran has a conventional army several times larger than the Revolutionary Guard with a separate command structure. There are also the Basij militias that -- although nominally part of the Revolutionary Guard -- take their orders directly from the local clerics.

Re:The country isn't run by the parliament (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41527367)

But is the conventional army in Iran anything special?

I seem to remember reading around the time of the riots that occurred after the last election that the military followed the typical model in dictatorships. While the army is large and has its own command structure, it's relatively low tech compared to the Revolutionary Guard which has a disproportionate amount of the good equipment.

The conventional army is the kind of bulk, low-tech force designed to discourage enemies from conventional attack -- lots of guys with Kalashnikovs and mortars and a collection of outdated tanks and airplanes. The RG has all the newer equipment meant to provide a Praetorian Guard kind of counter-balance to the military should they decide change the rules.

Re:The country isn't run by the parliament (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41528233)

so like, kind of like the special forces in any other country?

Re:The country isn't run by the parliament (1)

Dave Emami (237460) | about 2 years ago | (#41528769)

While the IRG as a whole is not the "special forces" of Iran, one of its sub-formations (the Quds Force) is. The job of the regular Iranian military is to defend Iran, while the IRG is there to "defend the revolution" -- i.e. to maintain the Islamic rulers in power against both external and internal threats.

Re:The country isn't run by the parliament (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41529713)

Republican Guard? You're thinking of Iraq.
The Revolutionary Guard in Iran is very much controlled by the Ayatollahs. They are, sadly in charge.

Infighting (2)

mseeger (40923) | about 2 years ago | (#41526555)

No one knows what the regime will do next, not us and neither the people they supposedly govern. Structured like they are, such governments become a cesspit of intrigue and internal struggles. This event has the certain smell of infighting. Just look up the sorry excuse of a statement about the "involuntary" block. ï

Re:Infighting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531267)

It sounds like you're talking about the US. I thought this article was about Iran?

the article is wrong (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41526831)

old news BS:

"While the Iranian government has released no official statement as to why Google's Gmail service was blocked in the first place"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-lifts-block-on-gmail-a-week-after-barring-access-to-googles-popular-email-service/2012/10/01/02903854-0ba6-11e2-97a7-45c05ef136b2_story.html
"On Monday, Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, a member of governmental Internet watchdog committee, told the semiofficial Mehr news agency that authorities have lifted the Gmail ban after resolving technical problems to separate YouTube and Gmail. As of Monday, YouTube is still blocked, while Gmail is now available."

http://rt.com/news/line/2012-10-01/#id38227
"The Gmail ban was an “involuntary” consequence of the censoring of Google's YouTube video-sharing site, Mohammad Reza Miri, a member of the ministry tasked with filtering the Internet in Iran said. The ministry is working to create new filters to block YouTube under the HTTPS protocol while leaving Gmail accessible. Iran blocked YouTube in mid-2009 amid opposition rallies protesting the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

slashdot is turning into a noob site

frist 4so7!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41528841)

Parliament? Wait, what? (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 years ago | (#41530607)

The summary says Iran has a parliament, but that doesn't make any sense! Here in the good ol' US of A we're told that Iran is an evil fundamentalist religious dictatorship! If they have a parliament, that means....Oh my god...they are more like us! Next thing you know they'll be telling us that women are allowed to vote and aren't actually stoned if they don't wear a burka! Wait, what? Women is Iran can vote? They don't have to wear a burka? There's Jews and Christians in Iran that are treated equally? It's individual groups of assholes that make them all look bad, the same way every other civilized country in the world has certain groups of assholes? Say it ain't so!

Re:Parliament? Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533477)

The summary says Iran has a parliament, but that doesn't make any sense!

Even the Daleks have a parliament (BBC). Nobody said that "having a parliament" and "being a totalitarian regime" were mutually exclusive.

Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535601)

Test

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