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Google Releases Software To Iran 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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Google Releases Software To Iran

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  • Home of the Free (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:23AM (#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.

  • so naive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pz ( 113803 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:38AM (#34927170) Journal

    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?

  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:50AM (#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?

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @11:44AM (#34927960) Homepage Journal

    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.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito