Feeds

Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail strike out Iran

Sanctions bite, but not at Gmail

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Exclusive Yahoo! and Microsoft have removed Iran from the country lists of their webmail services as stronger US sanctions against the Islamic republic begin to bite.

Google has kept Iran as an option on the Gmail registration page, however.

The US administration stepped up economic pressure on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's eccentric government less than two weeks ago.

A Yahoo! spokeswoman told The Reg: "Yahoo! continually reviews its business operations to ensure compliance with these restrictions. Consistent with this policy, we cannot accept registrations from countries subject to these restrictions.

So essentially, you can't choose Iran as a country option because we are restricted from conducting business there – all US companies must comply with this policy." She was unable to tell us exactly when Yahoo! applied the rules.

Microsoft said it was unable to comment on the issue.

Google insists the sanctions do not preclude it from including Iran in its Gmail country list. A statement from the firm said: "Google is committed to full compliance with US export controls and sanctions programs and is confident in our compliance with those controls and programs."

A representative of the Iranian embassy in London was unable to provide an immediate response.

On 30 October, the Tehran correspondent of Netherlands newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported (in Dutch) that his paid Skype account had been cancelled. An email from the VoIP outfit said its financial services provider had been forced to stop taking payments from Iran.

That's perhaps more easily understandable than a blockade on free email. Whether Yahoo! and Microsoft's apparent action is the result of an over-zealous compliance lawyer or not, the effect on US interests of denying ordinary Iranians access to free international communications is questionable at best.

Of course, the Iranian government itself heavily restricts what its citizens can access online. The OpenNet Initiative, a collaboration of Harvard, Toronto, Oxford, and Cambridge universities, describes it as having installed "one of the most extensive technical filtering systems in the world". ®

Update

Yahoo! got back to us with details of when the change was made:

"In June of this year, Yahoo! updated this [user information gathering] process to capture more relevant information about new users in order to provide more personalized services for users and more targeted advertising for its customers. The user information requested includes country of residence. Because the United States restricts U.S. businesses from conducting business in certain countries, Yahoo! also ensured that these countries do not appear in the drop down menu."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?