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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!

  • Build trust? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.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: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?

  • Re:Web 2.0 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tehcmn (1192821) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:49PM (#31091368)
    I like how the Iranian gov't is running a national e-mail service but can't stump up for an SSL certificate. mail.ir = localhost.localdomain, apparently.
  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:53PM (#31091408) Journal

    This radical regime has no compunction about killing its own citizens, and it has continuously described its intention to destroy another sovereign country. Regime change needs to happen now, or else the world will sleep through a future preventable calamity yet again.

    Look, Bush and Cheney are no longer in office, will you stop with the complaints?

    Wait, you weren't talking about the United States? Isn't this Slashdot?

  • 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: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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Iran Shmiran (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:13PM (#31091728) Journal

    It's ironic some people around here only have a problem with Iran's actions because it's not a democracy, rather than because of any freedom of speech, association, or business rights.

  • 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?

  • Re:Build trust? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:18PM (#31091818) Homepage Journal

    Even with the Patriot Act, the US government needs judges to issue orders to gain access to our emails.

    Judges could abuse this system. However, the Patriot Act does not really change the situation. Moral judges protect us, and amoral judges could screw us.

    For everyone citing the Patriot Act as being the ultimate evil, they forget both parties voted for it repeatedly, and few seem to know anything about it to back up their fears that it is truly evil legislation.

    So let me ask you, what is your specific beef with it?

    Last time I checked, you have the freedom to bash your government and call them evil. In Iran, that freedom doesn't exist.

    So don't pretend that the sky is falling when in reality there are billions who do live under terrible oppression. Stop whining about how bad you have it, and try to steal focus from those who have almost no freedoms to speak of.

  • Re:Build trust? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:20PM (#31091836) Homepage Journal

    Why does everyone try to bring everything back to Nazi Germany? Sheesh!

    That isn't a fair comparison. Nazi Germany called for the extermination of all Jews.

    Iran called for the extermination of all Jews.

    Oh, wait.

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

    by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:25PM (#31091916) Homepage Journal

    So because politicians in both of the major US parties agree that something is good, it is there for irrefutably good?

    Because other people have it worse than us means that we shouldn't fight against oppression in our own country?

    Soap, Ballot, Jury, Ammo. The four boxes of freedom. You sir, are standing right next to the GP's 1st box.

    -Rick

  • 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.

  • Re:Build trust? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:38PM (#31092104) Homepage Journal

    While I believe that almost every politician is motivated by dollar signs, I don't believe everyone in Congress is evil.

    Having met several politicians who I believe actually have some principles (crazy thought!) I can't believe the bill would pass vote after vote if it were truly so evil.

    For years I've asked people to back up their claims. Tell me what specifically is evil. Tell me what specific beef you have with it.

    I might just agree with you. I might actually make it a personal crusade and contact some politicians myself to express my concerns with it.

    However, since no one ever does back up these claims of how evil the Patriot Act is, I'm left to believe this is mostly empty rhetoric. I have zero interest in buzz words thrown around.

    I grew tired of Chicken Littles telling me that if you said anything anti-government you'd be thrown in jail. The government is monitoring us all and controlling us all!

    Funny, because for everyone who speaks out against the US government, nothing ever happens to any of them. Keith Olberman specifically said he was concerned that his wife would disappear in a black van if he spoke out against the government, despite the fact that he ripped the US government on a NIGHTLY basis on national television. Nothing ever happened.

    Maybe, just maybe, we don't have this evil, oppressive government that everyone claims.

    We are FAR from perfect. But we're not Big Brother either.

  • Re:Regime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:42PM (#31092156) Homepage
    As I said, a dictatorship is a dictatorship is a dictatorship.

    This may sound goofy and way over the top, but we in the US live in an oligarchic dictatorship.

    I know, I know. Move along, citizen, move along. Don't pay attention to the lunatic.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @07:13PM (#31092444)

    "Amnesty International is concerned that the USA PATRIOT Act:

    - Creates a broad definition of "domestic terrorism" that may have a chilling effect on the U.S. and international rights to free expression and association.
    - Allows non-citizens to be detained without charge and held indefinitely once charged.
    - Infringes on the right to privacy and removes many types of judicial review over intelligence activities."

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/war-on-terror/civil-rights/page.do?id=1108209 [amnestyusa.org] ...excuse me if I trust these guys more than your anecdotal experience with unidentified politicians.

    -- Terry

  • Re:Well of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mister_playboy (1474163) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @07:41PM (#31092692)

    Nearly 1/3 of the members of a global House would be from China and India. No thanks.

  • Re:Well of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @08:00PM (#31092914) Homepage Journal

    The framework of two houses, one representing equal representation regardless of size, and the other giving additional representation to states with more population is a good one.

    The fact that the two parties in this country stink, and that both parties are spending HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS all in additional deficit is another issue. That doesn't mean the framework is flawed.

    As I understand it, in Australia, government officials can't take bribes of any kind. They are paid well to attract smart individuals. The United States could improve their government model in many ways, but the "Great Compromise" could be applied to the UN successfully.

  • Re:Build trust? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @08:03PM (#31092946) Homepage Journal

    Immediately after 9/11 the public criticism was that the government did not know enough. They should have prevented it.

    A report suggesting that a terrorist was likely to steal a plane and use it as a missile was fairly well-circulated before the strike. Support for the war overwhelmingly came (comes) from the misled [worldpublicopinion.org]. Support for the U SAP AT RIOT act is very much the same; the government did know enough to know that 9/11 was impending, and deliberately buried the reports to avoid having to do anything about them. Security theater is [relatively] cheap and easy. Actually doing something is hard. We still haven't taken effective measures to prevent terrorism.

    The problem is that you can't scream for privacy, yet expect the government to know everything at the same time. Pick your poison. The public clammored for the government to have more power.

    Only the misled public. Which was nearly everyone, since the media is overwhelmingly controlled by people in a position to profit from all this nonsense. But since a certain FCC knocked down the rules preventing ownership of multiple media outlets and even types of media outlets by a single corporation, lying to the public has become even easier.

    I haven't read the entirety of the bill. (I've only skimmed the table of contents). But I do believe that it was passed with the honest intent of trying to make the nation more secure for foreign threats.

    It was passed with the intent of demonstrating to constituents that something was being done about terrorism. It was proposed with the intent of eroding freedom.

    In that regard, the name Patriot Act isn't some lie meant to cover up the true insidious purpose.

    The name is so jingoistic it is virtually impossible for it to be anything else.

    I wouldn't be shocked if the bill was a knee-jerk overreaction that grants too much power to the government.

    I'm not shocked that you would support it, but I am dismayed.

  • Re:Iran Shmiran (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @08:50PM (#31093480)
    Absolutely right, the best way to prevent millions of people from being oppressed by their government is to just KILL them all. You can't be oppressed if you're dead, right?
  • Re:Build trust? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gerddie (173963) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @08:51PM (#31093486)

    He isn't just talking about regime change. He's talking about the destruction of the state - that's clear.

    Care to elaborate, because the Guardian article I linked to explains quite well that he did not, at least not in that speech.

    And besides, there are videos of Ahmadinejad leading chants of "Death to the Jews."

    In the video I found he said "Death to Israel" (well, that's what the subtitles say - since I don't understand Farsi I am only sure that the sentence includes "Israel"). This is of course different from "Death to all Jews" and somewhat in line with Iran's policy of not recognizing the state Israel.

    Since the real question was whether "Iran calls for the extermination of all Jews (like Hitler did)" I'd summarize that they don't.

    Remark 1: I don't want to defend Ahmadinejad (he doesn't have much power anyway, because the power is with the clerics), and there are a lot of reasons to criticize the Iran (human rights, freedom of speech et al.), but claiming that they want to start a genocide is something I can not let pass unchallenged. Besides, the Iran has also a very long history of not starting wars.

    Remark 2: IMO the state Israel has every right to exist, but I don't agree with their current politics towards the Palestinians.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:12PM (#31093792)

    Oh that's just crap. The We the People part refers to who establishes the damn Constitution, not who it applies to. That it's unclear who it applies to is true, but it has nothing to do with that bit.

    Arguably, in critical places, the Constitution is quite clear. The fourteenth amendment, for example:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    There seems a clear distinction in the text between a `person' and a `citizen'. You can't abridge the privileges and immunities of *citizens*, but it's *people* whose life, liberty, and property can't be deprived without due process. And it's *people* who get equal protection of the law.

  • Re:frist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:43PM (#31094214) Homepage

    You fail to understand religions. Religions were all largely created to establish a system of controls over society, by those seeking to attain or maintain power. Religion is basically a derived set of rules to establish a set of morals, these rules are buried within stories and subject to interpretation by the religious leaders and more often by the political power behind the religious leaders. Especially in the period following the demise of the original religious authors. That period where the religion is rewritten to suit the rulers of the days, this is of course obfuscated over time by the simple expediency of killing anyone who disagrees with the later interpretations. This principles is extended in neighboring regions, naturally enough with monotheism unlike polytheism, conflicting gods cannot be accepted but, that provides the excuse to purge, via religious edict unbelievers and confiscate their property (in the favor of the political elite of the day), hence the underlying driver for monotheism as it was actually deployed and used.

    See, not pulled out of someones arse, but a concerted conspiracy to enrich and empower a minority at the expense of the majority, the poor get the vacuous promises and the rich and powerful get everything else, including ownership of the poor, modern example of this religious perversity is of course capitalism, where the god worshiped is greed (they still wrap themselves up in other religions but of course they don't show the slightest pretense of adhering to any of the moral principles of those religions, that's for the poor).

    The interpretation part is most amusing, take the Christian bible, is it true, absolutely not and I quote "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown". So the bible is a "story" written in parables, not a factual account. Fascinating how the first line describes exactly how typical politicians use the bible for their own "EVIL" uses. So either these parables are true and the rest is false, or the rest is true and these parables are false, but if that is true then the bible still untrue.

  • Re:frist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:32PM (#31094718) Homepage

    You drank the Kool-aid, didn't you?

    Even 2000 years ago there were those who recognized the exploitive purpose of religion:

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. - Seneca (ca. 4 BC –AD 65)

  • Re:HTTPS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:49PM (#31094898) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Re:Well of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:54PM (#31094944)

    That's all well and good, but it's ancient history. As far back as the early 1800s, Muslims from north Africa were raiding European port towns and kidnapping Europeans to be used as sex slaves and worse, and they were hijacking cargo ships and demanding ransoms. Muslims haven't been civilized for at least 500 years, probably more, and it's not the Europeans' fault they fell. They also took over the Iberian peninsula by force a long time before that.

    In the last 1000 years, the Muslims have fallen so much that they really are nothing more than uncivilized savages. The accomplishments of their distant ancestors are irrelevant to the people there now.

  • by copponex (13876) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @12:05AM (#31095478) Homepage

    When you call someone an uncivilized savage, there's an implication that you find your own society superior. When your own society engages in interventionist wars that have killed and displaced tens of millions of people for half a century, you can't simply ignore this integral part of your culture because it suits your argument. It would be like examining the British based solely on how they treat British citizens.

    If you find the "middle east" uncivilized because you think it is savage, I think you are swallowing wholesale the idea that our culture isn't savage. Just because it's mildly tolerant of it's internal population doesn't separate it morally from any other state.

    And then, you state without a hint of irony:

    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.

    Last I checked, the "middle east" does not have any military bases in America. The "middle east" has not invaded any part of the Western world since the decline of the Ottoman Empire. So, you live in a society 100% guilty of what you fear of "uncivilized savages" and you're too buried in your own worldview to even realize what you're saying is that you are afraid of what your society does to other people.

    And now you claim you don't "believe" in intervention. And that nearly leaves me speechless.

  • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @12:22AM (#31095624)

    I didn't realise Iranians previously had no choice but to use Gmail for their email. How silly of me. Maybe they should simply dismantle those laws so people can choose their email provider like in other countries, rather than changing it from "you must use Gmail" to "you must not use Gmail".

    The goal isn't a bad one, however banning the competition seems contrary to the desire to "boost local development of internet technology". Outlawing your competitors is an effective way to gain market share, but it's not an effective way of encouraging innovation.

    Really, they should just set up their service and try to out-compete Google. By blocking access to it just means their own service is more likely to be inferior to what people were previously using (Gmail) - but what incentive is there to make it better?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @12:40AM (#31095752)

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

    The Clipper Chip failed because it was subjected to citizen protest. However, around the same time CALEA [wikipedia.org] was passed, which is very very similar in effect.

    Aside from abuses afforded by CALEA, the US government's spy networks have repeatedly [wired.com] snooped on its citizens' [zdnet.com] phone calls. There was no victory with the Clipper Chip. It was just a minor setback.

  • by sploithunter (1399781) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @01:57AM (#31096270)

    The Preamble of the US Constitution is stating "why" they are creating the document. The rest is how they are attempting to achieve the Preamble's goals. One of which is "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"

    Common misconceptions about the US Constitution are that it gives rights to the citizenry. It does not, that was the English POV. It guarantees the "inalienable rights" spoken about in the Declaration of Independence and other works of the time to never be infringed upon by the Federal Government. Some of those rights are listed (mainly in the Bill of Rights), some are not. There were arguments at the time that putting in a Bill of Rights may make it seem that if the rights were not listed, they did not exist. Madison, a supporter of the bill of rights, stated that the limits of the central government were listed in the powers section and the list was exhaustive; therefore, the power to infringe on rights did not exist in the central government. He should know, since he wrote the thing, but he felt it was better to be safe than sorry. He was already seeing the abuse of power within the federal government, but I digress...

    Inalienable Rights are rights that flow from the creator (as argued by the philosophy of the time), or in modern PC times, rights that are NOT granted by the sovereign king, Parliament, or any other body; democratic or dictatorial, but rights that belong to, ingrained in, and a natural part of ALL humans. So their is little ambiguity in "We the People" except for those that wish to redefine the term.

  • by TheDataBase (1433851) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:35AM (#31097378)
    well, from an iranian national security perspective:
    it is better that the iranian government monitor it's people than Google in USA !!!

    "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."
    Google's CEO Eric Schmidt

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