Iranians once again enjoy the crushing freedom to spend their days writing emails, deleting spam, and responding to queries to “keep in touch.” After Iran cut off access to the country’s favorite Google services, citizens and officials were united in protest for their love for Gmail, which is now accessible again. The initial block was in response to an anti-Islamic film on Youtube that caused global unrest, “We wanted to block YouTube, and Gmail was also blocked, which was involuntary,” said Iran’s telecommunications ministry committee, “We do not yet have enough technical know-how to differentiate between these two services.”
But, apparently, the email service is so popular, that one legislator, Hossein Garousi “threatened to summon Telecommunications Minister Reza Taqipour to parliament for questioning if it was not unblocked,” according to Reuters.
Interestingly enough, Google CEO, Eric Schmidt once said that the decision to engage with China was based on the idea that once the Chinese experienced a taste of Google, the government would never be able to take it away. At a conference this summer, he admitted that the now infamous failure in China had proven that theory wrong.
Basically we, and I in particular, felt that it was better to engage, rather than be estranged. That’s I think a proper philosophy…Our theory was that we would create something which was so incredibly valuable that the citizens of China (because in our arrogant view we provide great value) that the government will be forced to, over time, open this [Internet] up… We did that for 5 years. The censorship got worse, not better. And, then after the Chinese government, or its proxies, attacked us for a month, and stole a bunch of stuff (and we have since corrected that, and we publicized that), and after they engaged in a very long and severe campaign monitoring the gmails of human rights activists and other people around the world, we said is enough is enough.
Apparently, Mr. Schmidt was not entirely wrong after all–albiet for a different country. Anti-democratic religious ferver has met its match, and its name is Google.