Iran Bans Google Search, Gmail as Country Readies Own Web

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – As Iran plans to impose a state-run Internet network, it’s taking steps to tamper down on online access throughout the Islamic Republic. On Monday, a report from the BBC noted that the country had censored access to Google services including search and Gmail.

The move itself was announced by the government with Iranian official Abdul Samad Khoramabadi noting that such access would “remain filtered until further notice” via a state-run TV network.

According to a variety of sources, the Islamic republic is planning its own Internet network. Such a move could prove useful in filtering outside influences from the country’s citizens.

Iran has maintained stringent restrictions on which websites users can access. Another Google-backed service, YouTube, was previously blocked, said the BBC. However, citizens have commonly used proxy service to get around state-imposed restrictions.

A Reuters report, meanwhile, indicated that Tehran said the move had to do with cybersecurity standards. In recent years, viruses including Stuxnet and Flame have been prevalent in Iranian computer systems. Such were likely launched by Western allies, often at odds with the country’s nuclear program which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes.

The Iranian Students’ News Agency noted the filtering also had to do with Innocence of Muslims, a low budget film appearing on Google’s YouTube. The movie has sparked considerable outrage in the Middle-eastern world over its depiction of Islamic prophet Muhammad.