Iran Forbids Institutions From Dealing with Gmail Users
I wrote earlier this year about leaked plans for Iran to turn off access to the Internet for Iranian citizens. The plans were denied by Iranian authorities but news this week that Iranian authorities are banned from dealing with people that have a Gmail account (or indeed any other foreign email account) cast fresh doubts on their denial.
The new crackdown will forbid banks, insurance firms and telecom companies from dealing with messages sent from foreign email accounts.
The Ministry of Telecommunications ordered that only email addresses belonging to Iran can be used, meaning that Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and any other foreign email providers are no longer an option, not only for these institutions, but for their customers as well.
If customers wish to correspond via email, they now must do so with a domestic Iranian account ending with iran.ir, post.ir and chmail.ir, while governmental organizations are limited to using gov.ir or .ir. Universities are also included in the crackdown, and have been ordered to use either ac.ir or .ir endings for their email addresses.
The Iranian ministry claim that the crackdown is an attempt to ensure confidential information is safe and secure. They accuse foreign email providers of collecting data from users, therefore making them unsafe and un-secure for Iranians using them.
This move is likely to prompt state institutions, banks and other large organizations moving across to the Iranian National Internet, as the country moves gradually towards shutting off the outside world to citizens.
In December, Iran also made the move to host 90% of its governmental sites locally, as the country continues to impose restrictions on Internet use.