" ITREALMS: Chinese govt blocks Gmail to avert protest


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chinese govt blocks Gmail to avert protest

Chinese government may have taken to blocking of access to Google Mail (Gmail) to avert seeming anti-government protests, according to the PCmag.com reports.

Gmail in the country has been reported to witness intermittent crippling as users could not send e-mails or messages are marked as unread.

“There is no technical issue on our side. We have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail,” Google told eWeek.

The effort is reportedly tied to the “Jasmine Revolution,” a call for Chinese citizens to protest the country’s lack of reforms. The movement picked up steam online and via Twitter and was compared to similar efforts in the Middle East, but as Time reported, the Chinese government quickly cracked down on any anti-government activity.

Google’s Apps Dashboard shows no disruption with Gmail in the past few days, save for a brief downtime on March 17.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move comes about eight months after China renewed Google’s Internet content provider license amidst a battle over censored search results. In July, Google announced a hybrid approach to search in the region. To avoid losing its license in China, Google said it would stop completely re-directing all Google.cn traffic through its Hong Kong site and instead reinstate the Google.cn landing page. The search component is still an unfiltered option going through Google.com/hk, while other Google.cn services that have traditionally been unfiltered, like music and text translate, will be available via Google.cn.

That came after Google discovered that cyber attacks originating in China had tried to gain access to Google intellectual property as well as the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

In December, China declared that all Internet phone services other than those provided by the two state-run telcos, China Telecom and China Unicom, were illegal.

Remmy Nweke:
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