Blown To Bits

Iran Bans Gmail

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by Harry Lewis

In a move that is remarkably aggressive even by the standards of totalitarian regimes, Iran has announced that Gmail will be banned and that a government-run email service will take its place. The Wall Street Journal explains,

An Iranian official said the move was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government.

I get it. People will trust the government more if they know the government is watching all their email and there is nothing they can do about it. Wait, no, I don’t get it. Could you explain that again?

I have gotten two unsolicited emails over the past year from Iran. One was from a Gmail address, enclosing a manuscript about teaching for me to read. When I responded that we all think about the people of Iran and their struggles, the unguarded reply was “That is why I chose green for the cover of my book.” I hope that did not get him into trouble. Another, from a Yahoo mail address, asked for my help in locating a relative. Apparently the person writing thought the relative had gone to Harvard. I could find no evidence of that but I did find the fellow’s Facebook page, for which my correspondent was very grateful

These experiences left me wondering how thorough the surveillance is, and today’s announcement leaves me wondering if people will put up with it being heightened.

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