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Iran Suspends Google's Email Service 436

Posted by timothy
from the single-payer-system dept.
appl_iran writes "Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service." From the short WSJ article that is kernel of this Reuters story: "An Iranian official said the measure was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government." Funny way to go about that. Updated 20100211 9:54GMT by timothy: Original link swapped for a more appropriate, updated one.
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Iran Suspends Google's Email Service

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  • by eparker05 (1738842) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:38PM (#31091140)

    "to build trust between people and government"

    Because, as China has shown, censoring communication is the fastest and easiest way to built trust. Go Iran!

    • by the_povinator (936048) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:39PM (#31091164) Homepage
      This storyline sucks because it has no moral ambiguity in it.
      • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:29PM (#31091968) Journal
        Oh, yeah... well how would you feel if you were a country that was just trying to provide the most wholesome kind of social system possible (as laid out by God himself!), and all your people were using the internet for was bad-mouthing your attempts to fight the righteous battle against the vile corruption from the West that was threatening to engulf your poor country? You wouldn't feel so good then, would you?
    • The Ministry Of Truth has a much more sensitive way to tell this.

      "More trust between people and government", and trust begins with knowing who is who and where he lives, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by flitty (981864)
      "Because, as China has shown, censoring communication is the fastest and easiest way to built trust." Go Iran!

      Right! At least that's what all my friends in China say when they e-mail me.
    • Well duh, being able to read your emails removes the strain for the government to trust you, while also training you to entrust your government with your secrets. Hence, trust-building. :P

      • If the US government tried that, I'd tell them to take a flying leap. I run my own mail server because even google and yahoo don't strike me as sensitive to my privacy desires.

  • Build trust? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:40PM (#31091192) Homepage Journal

    Is this the same Irani government which torturers people to try and gain Facebook passwords so they can better track groups who want to discuss politics freely?

    Forcing users to use a government monitored service doesn't sound like something that would build trust. It sounds like a move to crush dissent.

    • Well of course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:45PM (#31091292)

      They are an extremely oppressive government, of course their goal is to crush dissent. Goes double since they are rather worried now since there was a big uprising recently over the rigged elections.

      However, something you'll also discover about many oppressive government is they love lying. They are so used to the idea that their official word is "the truth" that they lie all the time and seem to think everyone, including other countries, will believe the bullshit. Hence they don't tell their people, or the world, that this is to crush dissent, they make up BS about trying to build trust.

      We've seen it all before in many other oppressive places, and I'm sure we'll see it all again.

      • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Insightful)

        by v1 (525388) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:03PM (#31091564) Homepage Journal

        I think it's also more a case of they lie, you know they lie, they know you know they lie, and they DON'T CARE.

        Not much you can do at that point besides feel sorry for their citizens. It's a waste of time to catch someone in a lie that doesn't care if you catch the lie.

        Reminds me so much of 1984... back when the book was written, most of what went on was considered so absurd no one could possibly have tolerated it to let it get that far, but now look here at how governments can get away with it and even manage to make it grow.

        • In theory the United Nations could try to push an agenda of basic human rights and freedoms to all nations.

          But that might require them to grow a conscience and/or a pair of balls.

          • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:18PM (#31091808)

            No, because the UN is run by countries like Iran, Sudan, Libya, etc., who even hold high positions in their "council on human rights". It's like the fox guarding the henhouse.

            How can you have an organization pushing for human rights and freedoms when many of its members completely oppose such things?

            • The UN was designed for inaction to placate people after the massive failure of the League of Nations. Most nations wanted to make sure we didn't get involved in another World War.

              A proper global government could suspend the member rights of a nation like Iran for their human rights violations and then impose penalities, such as economic sanctions, and if need be, military intervention.

              At the very least they could stand up and make a statement. Even if it is just words, they should censure nations that don'

              • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:30PM (#31091984)

                "A proper global government"? You say that like it's a desirable thing. If we had a global government, we'd have to give equal footing to leaders from places like Somalia, Sudan, China, Zimbabwe, Libya, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. These are places where people do NOT value freedom or human rights. Even worse, you'd have all the Islamic nations pressing for worldwide laws against anything they deem "immoral". We have enough problems here in the USA with fundamentalist Christians trying to push their morals on us.

                You can't have "global government" and then only allow Western nations to have all the power. If you include everyone in the government, you have to give equal power to everyone. And I don't want uncivilized savages from the Middle East having any kind of say about what goes on in my life.

                • by copponex (13876) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @07:56PM (#31092862) Homepage

                  Tell me, are these the sort of people who would force you to change your way of life using violence? BEING AN AMERICAN, I CAN'T IMAGINE LIVING IN A SOCIETY LIKE THAT.

                  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to run to a closed door military conference deciding the fate of Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and a smattering of Latin American countries. It's a good thing we know how to save their poor, wretched souls from their own savagery, isn't it?

                  PS Do not confuse this with something a conquistador or nazi or British imperialist would say. It's totally different!

    • Fear, trust, whatever. Same difference.
    • But it will force people to trust the government with all of their personal e-mails! How is that not building trust?

      (Yes, obviously there is something wrong with this picture.)

    • Re:Build trust? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:06PM (#31091612)

      Those of us in the US will understand the language. Iran has a central, government email system to build trust. We have the PATRIOT Act to protect freedom.

    • How does that old adage go?

      You can't build an omelette without crushing a few eggs...

      Or something like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SimonInOz (579741)

      >> Forcing users to use a government monitored service doesn't sound like something that would build trust. It sounds like a move to crush dissent.

      Hmm - you do know why the Royal Mail was introduced, don't you? (The Royal Mail traces its history back to 1516, when Henry VIII established a "Master of the Posts", a post which eventually evolved into the office of the Postmaster General. The Royal Mail service was first made available to the public by Charles I on 31 July, 1635, with postage being paid b

  • In other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) *
    A Nazi official said that the new "Final Solution" plan is meant to boost the railroad industry and help build positive relations between Jews and the Gestapo.
  • Must be the "punch" they promised. Oooo...I quiver with FEAR!!! Good one, morons.

    • Beat me to it. I sure hope this isn't it, otherwise somebody clue in the Iranians on the meaning of 'hype'.
    • The "punch" isn't due until tomorrow.

      Unless it just leaked early. They wouldn't have that leakage problem if they just forced everybody to use the government's email service.
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:41PM (#31091228) Homepage Journal
    is Buzz. Else they should be blocking every other web mail provider (hotmail, yahoo, etc)
    • by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:49PM (#31091364)

      Offhand, I don't know what sort of "deals" the other providers have made with Iran... e.g., maybe Yahoo already allows Iran's government access to e-mail or something like that? Perhaps Google didn't?

      Or perhaps gmail is the only significant webmail provider over there and the others have

      • HTTPS (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ink (4325) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:01PM (#31091520) Homepage

        It's because Google recently moved gmail to HTTPS. It was an option before, but now its mandatory. Someone's email snooper device stopped working in Iran's ministry of snooping^H^H^H^H^H^H truth, and they threw a fit. Then their prophet-dude probably received a revelation that the country needs it's own "Islamic" email system to be rid of the heathens... etc., etc.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by e2d2 (115622)

          It's quite simple really. Spam is pork. Pork is un-Islamic. Hence Google hates Allah.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fm6 (162816)

          Let's get our terminology of repression straight. The Ministry of Truth, as every fan of George Orwell knows, is in charge of lies. In other words, they do propaganda. Mind control is under the Ministry of Love.

      • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @07:15PM (#31092474) Homepage Journal
        A large part of it probably has to do with the upcoming UN hearings on sanctions on Iran. Iran does realize that Google and China, a permanent member of the UN security counsel, have had a pretty public spat recently. But singling out gmail they are hoping that they will curry favor with the Chinese, and further persuade them not to vote for sanctions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      is Buzz. Else they should be blocking every other web mail provider (hotmail, yahoo, etc)

      Like everything else, they are fundamentalist emailers.

  • How can this possibly be anything but an infrastructure for massive spying on its own citizens?

    • by fructose (948996)

      I think almost anyone with a lick of sense would realize that. Iran must have seen the problems with hacking into gmail from the recent problems with China and thought "Let's just elminiate the middle man and have a native e-mail service that we can dictate that back doors be included for 'security.'" Of course, 'security' is for the security of the ruling parties, just like every other opressive regime.

      Of course, the only people that this will truly affect are those that don't have much to lose because t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalunity (19107)

        Iran has already shown many times before that they have centralized control over all inbound/outbound peering. Every time they block facebook or some other website they demonstrate that.

        As others have noted, gmail now uses HTTPS by default. With Iran's centralized peering, they also likely had deep packet inspection to log all webmail emails going into and out of the country. If gmail is using HTTPS, a MITM attack like that doesn't work nearly so easily.

        This is just a way for Iran to regain their previous s

    • by Alinabi (464689)

      How can this possibly be anything but an infrastructure for massive spying on its own citizens?

      Why not target the telecoms then, like the NSA does? Why one email provider?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They must hate Buzz as much as I do.

  • That's the kind of thing you read and there's almost no response. There just has to be something missing here. "Suspend"? Do you mean blocked Gmail? Why Google's email and not Yahoo's, Microsoft's, or AOL's? Censoring the Internet builds trust between people and the government (I know, they don't really believe that)? Why not boost local development of Internet technology by finding projects that weren't already solved 15 years ago?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canajin56 (660655) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:45PM (#31091312)

      Why not boost local development of Internet technology by finding projects that weren't already solved 15 years ago?

      Because if you force everybody to use iranmail instead of gmail, you can read everything they email?

  • Web 2.0 (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShaunC (203807) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:44PM (#31091278)

    They've even got one of those catchy web-2.0-style names for their new site, mail.ir [mail.ir].

    • Re:Web 2.0 (Score:5, Informative)

      by ink (4325) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @08:29PM (#31093290) Homepage

      I tried to create an account, and was able to get past the account creation form. It was fairly detailed... It wanted my street address, the company I worked for, and some sort of "national ID", which I assume is Iran's equivalent of a social security number; but then once I successfully submitted that, I was greeted with another screen telling me to send post to some address at "Argentina Square Blvd." in Tehran. I am to include my signature, as well as that of the highest "administrative unit" in my work. It's draconian by western standards -- and would easily allow them to track people with email; all for "our own good", I'm sure....

  • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:44PM (#31091284)
    So scant, it's a travesty to call this a "news article." Here it is, in entirety:

    Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service. Google didn't have an immediate comment about the announcement. An Iranian official said the measure was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government, according to the Wall Street Journal. The measure comes on the heels of celebrations to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic.

    For once, everything you need to know is safely found in the Slashdot summary.

  • by djKing (1970) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:44PM (#31091286) Homepage Journal

    I'm glad the Iranian Government will be able to trust their people with this exciting new tech.

  • A dictatorship is a dictatorship is a dictatorship. The ideologies, pretentions, and trappings may vary wildly, but inside they are all alike.
  • by phoenix321 (734987) * on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:46PM (#31091314)

    "The Iranian nation, with its unity and God's grace, will punch the arrogance (of Western powers) on the 22nd of Bahman (Feb 11) in a way that will leave them stunned," Khamenei declared Monday.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8508813.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=124681 [wnd.com]

    Empty threat or glass parking lot in Tel Aviv? What are they up to?

    • by dintech (998802)

      Of course an empty threat. You would think they would have learned from what happened to their neighbouring country that even empty threats lead to severe trouble.

    • by malakai (136531)

      The people of Iran better hope this "punch" is not in anyway directed at Israel.

      Israel is the sober angry Krav Maga expert being held back by his friends at the end of the bar which houses a drunk Iran and his orange tanned Persian 'guido' friends.

      I think we're about to have A Situation Here....on the Persian Shore.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:17PM (#31091788) Homepage

      It is neither an empty threat, nor foreshadowing of an attack on Israel (or any other country).

      The "punch" is going to be Revolutionary Guard, Basij Islamic militia, and regular police taking to the streets to violently oppress the peaceful opposition protesters who will also be taking to the streets on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which is Feb. 11. They will thus stun the opposition, and indirectly "the West" who the Iranian government claims is responsible for organizing the protesters.

      The BBC article gets it right. The WorldNetDaily article and your post are piles of FUD-mongering dung.

      What, is crushing a peaceful pro-democracy movement by killing its own citizens in the name of peace not bad enough for you?

    • I bet #3. A high alt nuke detonation. Purpose: To create an EMP powerful enough to wipe out communications along Europe and the Middle East.

      If you can't fight and their level, bring em down a notch so you now can.

  • by e2d2 (115622) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:46PM (#31091332)

    I've seen the Beta. It's actually quite like Google wave where you can edit another's words in real time. And by you I mean government agents.

  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:49PM (#31091358) Homepage Journal

    Once the government is managing all your communications, they'll finally be able to trust you.

  • >From the short article linked: "An Iranian official said the measure was meant
    >to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between
    >people and the government, according to the Wall Street Journal."
    I have to say, I know some Iranians that live over there, and it is all about controlling the media and the information.
    If they leave gmail to do this, they lose control of the info, and they do not want to lose control.
    So let's tell people you are no longer allowed to use gmail f

  • Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service.

    I think it may be a better to roll out the replacement before blocking Google.

  • Of course, I'm certain there are no other webmail-based services available now or ever in the future for Iranians to use...right? Right?

    Seriously, unless they plan on creating yet another seive like the "Great" firewall of China, how the hell do they expect to "control" an entity like Internet-based email services?

    Wow, if you were ever caught using hushmail over there...I can only imagine the punishment.

  • Iran just doesn't want the Chinese to be reading Iranian dissident mail before they do.

  • Will they call it iMail?
    Will Apple's brand image be tarnished as a result?
    Will Apple try to sue Iran over trademark infringement?
    Or will they begrudgingly accept the inevitable Jobs/Ahmadinejad comparisons as having a tiny hint of truth?

    I kid, I kid. I know you how you guys love to quash dissent ;)

  • They're not idiots. This is no different to poking someone's eyes out so they're forced to rely on you to be their eyes, and so they can't go anywhere or do anything without you. They're also sending a message that they are in power and can do whatever they like.

  • I think the issue is with trusting a service that is open to the subpoena laws and intelligence agencies of another country, period.

    Google will supply your full email history if order3ed by a court. And, under the "patriot" act, most likely even if not.

    Would you trust an email service provided by a country with a government you don't trust? China? North Korea? Iran?

    Of course, having the government take that decision away from you is another matter... but still logical.

    Iran is almost at war with the U.S. Not

  • by jayveekay (735967) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @07:43PM (#31092706)

    Anyone remember the US government initiative in the 90's to be able to snoop on its citizens phone calls?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_chip [wikipedia.org]

    Governments generally don't seem to like it when their citizens can hide stuff from them.

  • by bhagwad (1426855) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:47AM (#31096542) Homepage
    When I click on the link in the story, I go to a site that takes over the computer and says "I'm looking at gay porno" at full volume! T'was a bitch to regain control of the system. Any clues as to what's happening?

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