(The Hosting News) – Iran significantly curbed common Internet access to its citizens, recently adding more restrictions over which websites can be viewed.
The country has initiated a ban on Google and the online giant’s email service Gmail, according to a Monday report from news agency Reuters.
The reasoning behind the initiative? According to the Iranian Student’s News Agency, the move was connected with Muslim outcry directed towards controversial film Innocence of Muslims. The low budgeted, amateur-style title has sparked protests throughout the Middle East over its depiction of Islamic prophet Muhammad.
However, it remains to be seen if the Google block will be permanent. “Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice,” commented an official named Khoramabadi in Reuter’s report.
Iran has traditionally been known for stringent restrictions on Internet access. Some in the country have long used proxy servers to get around government-initiated bans on a variety of websites.
What appears to be even more concerning, however, could be the country’s eventual plan to switch to its own Internet network infrastructure where the government will have full control of content and be able to safeguard against any outside influences. That system, according to Reuters who cited Iranian sources, could reach full effect by March of next year.
Also at play are security concerns. In recent years, Iran has faced cyber threats likely launched by nation states which include viruses like Flame and Stuxnet.
The country is notably at odds with Western powers over its nuclear ambitions. Earlier this year in February, a mysterious Internet outage in the country found users unable to access top online sites including Gmail, Yahoo! and Facebook.