Yesterday, Iranian authorities enacted a ban on Gmail, saying they’d introduce a government-sponsored (and presumably government-monitored) email service to replace it. Now, as YouTube’s seeing an influx of protest videos, Google’s taken a moment to mark the Iranian government’s lack of control.
To be clear: these videos are not all specifically related to the Gmail development. Some Iranians are instead using today, which is the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic, to protest the presidential election and the subsequent crackdowns on free speech.
Google just helped to put a spotlight on the clips and the deteriorating situation. Olivia Ma wrote on the YouTube Blog, "[T]hese extraordinary videos provide an exclusive window into what’s taking place on the ground, as foreign press have been banned from the country. YouTube remains blocked in Iran, but dissidents are passing videos to friends out of the country and using Internet circumvention technologies to post the footage, according to news reports and correspondence with those on the ground."
She then added, "We’re tracking the videos on Citizentube . . . . A playlist can be found here."
Free speech advocates will no doubt find it reassuring that Google hasn’t tried to make nice with Iran’s government following the Gmail ban.