Internet users in Iran have seen their access to Google restricted by the government, it has emerged.
Policymakers in Tehran have decided to limit the ability of people on the World Wide Web to use several of the U.S. giant’s services, including its flagship search engine and email service.
In an announcement broadcast on state television, Abdul Samad Khoramabadi, an adviser to Iran’s public prosecutor’s office, commented: “Google and Gmail will be filtered nationwide, and will remain filtered until further notice.”
A wide range of Western websites are already only available for use under restriction in the Middle Eastern nation, including Facebook and Twitter, while news agencies like the Guardian, CNN and the BBC are blocked by a government firewall, the BBC reports.
This latest move from the administration has come in response to the anti-Islamic film posted on Google’s video website YouTube, which has sparked protests in nations across the Middle East, including Iran.
An unsecured version of Google–which is far simpler for the government to monitor–can still be accessed in the country, but the BBC’s Persian Service explained that all portals from the company that require a secure sockets layer connection are “out of reach.”
“Any attempt to get access to those services leads the user to a never-ending waiting phase, where nothing comes up,” it explained.
However, experts believe this censure will not prevent people from accessing Google, as telecommunications consultant Mahmood Tajali Mehr explained to the news source that Iranians have become adept at using virtual private networks (VPN) to breach government firewalls.
“This is just a move by the Iranian governement towards a so-called nationwide intranet … but every schoolchild knows how to bypass restrictions by using VPNs–it’s very common in Iran,” he stated.