Google is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think a million hits a day is impressive, but that's just peanuts to Google.
Google has a huge number of products, ranging from the mundane to the extreme: you can plan your month with Google Calendar or you can view millions of DD boobs in a fraction of a second with the classic Google Search Engine. The point is, with Google, you can do anything.
That is, unless you are living in one of the many countries that has a beef with the company. Various Google products, and sometimes even all of Google, have been banned in many countries. We regret to inform you that, if you are living in these countries, you are no longer a free person.
On February 10th, the day before the anniversary of the Iranian revolution’s anniversary, Gmail was banned by the Iranian telecommunication agency.
It wasn’t temporary, either. According to the Wall Street Journal, the ban is to be permanent – i.e. forever.
Apparently, there were to be major protests in Iran on the anniversary of the country’s revolution. Such a banning of an important internet feature was supposed to be a way to prevent the protest from happening. Our sources don’t tell us whether or not it worked, but that isn’t completely relevant. The point is, the Iranian government clearly thought that banning Gmail would work.
Why It’s Ridiculous
Gmail is not the only email service in the world. In fact, the top two email providers are Yahoo! Mail and Windows Live Hotmail. They have the most users. It would be slightly less ridiculous if the government had banned both of those, but no, they chose Gmail. Further, banning the spread of messaging the day before the protest would occur would probably not stop the protest from happening. Maybe if it was done a week or two in advance it would work, but everyone probably already knew where to go by the time the email service was banned.
Google Street View
Austria, and pretty much all of Europe
Throughout 2008 and 2009, countries all across the world (but mostly in Europe) complained about Google Street View, a service that lets people see a street as if they were standing on it themselves. But, these complainers decided that they didn’t want Street View in their country. So, either temporary or permanent bans were placed on the Google service, making it that much more difficult to view nude beaches in France.
Because it broke privacy rules.
No, seriously – that’s their reason. They didn’t want photos being taken of public places because there were some people that didn’t like pictures showing up on the internet. As per Wikipedia, “Privacy advocates have objected to the Google Street View feature, pointing to views found to show men leaving strip clubs, protesters at an abortion clinic, sunbathers in bikinis, cottagers at public parks, people picking up prostitutes and people engaging in activities visible from public property in which they do not wish to be seen publicly.”
Why It’s Ridiculous
Note that, above, we say that people didn’t want photos being taken of public places. A public place is, by definition, a place where you can go out and, you know, be. So whereas people are against there being photos taken of these locations, they are perfectly alright with others being able to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the things located there. But okay, so people don’t want others to know that they are soliciting prostitution. Well, then don’t go out when they are taking pictures. There is only one day that pictures are taken of an area, and it probably will be updated as often as a satellite photograph, i.e. once every couple of years or so.
In early 2007, Greeks and Turks were fighting over the internet, something which probably resembled two four-year-olds arguing over who won the Special Olympics that year. Nonetheless, the bickering devolved into attacking YouTube videos.
Namely, Greek videos “reportedly accused the founding president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, of homosexuality”. So, Turkey decided to ban the whole of YouTube.
According to the Times Online, it is illegal to insult either Ataturk, Turkey itself, or just Turkishness. Despite the ridiculousness of this law, it seems to hold, because prosecutor’s office in Turkey took action because of these “nationally threatening” videos. So… what did they do? They prevented all of YouTube from being viewed in Turkey. If it was our decision, we would have just nuked the damn Greeks.
Why It’s Ridiculous
The fact that free speech is limited so much in Turkey is astounding to Western readers. But, in the Middle East, it shouldn’t be nearly as surprising. What’s amazing, however, is that Turkey essentially removed one of the least used websites for attacking varying governments.
Removing /b/ would have made a lot more sense, but, despite the attacks on Turkey after the act, Turkey still allowed /b/ in their country. Don’t get us wrong, /b/ should be removed everywhere, but free speech is free speech, and should remain as such.