Iran: Gmail yes, YouTube no

Oct. 1, 2012 at 6:14 PM
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TEHRAN, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Iran says it has lifted its block on some Google services imposed last week, but it will exercise ongoing censorship of YouTube.

Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, a member of a government Internet watchdog committee, said Gmail is once again available in the country as authorities had found a way to selectively block YouTube by itself, TG Daily reported Monday.

The ban was imposed in protest of YouTube carrying the controversial trailer for an anti-Islamic film that sparked violent protests in the Muslim world.

"We absolutely do not want YouTube to be accessible," Aghamiri said. "That is why the Telecommunications Ministry is seeking a solution to fix the problem to block YouTube under the HTTPS protocol while leaving Gmail accessible."

The blocking of Google services drew anger from many of Iran's 32 million Internet users, including some government officials who could not access their email.

The Iranian government says it is working to develop its own local Internet and email systems, with the goal of having them up and running next March, but such a move could be counterproductive, some experts said.

"While these new measures indicate an unprecedented level of control over the country's more than 36 million Internet users," Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, "some analysts have suggested that such heavy restrictions will force a larger swath of the population to seek out means of circumventing the controls and, potentially, politicize a greater portion of the population."

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