Feeds

Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail strike out Iran

Sanctions bite, but not at Gmail

Top three mobile application threats

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."

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
Huawei exec: 'Word of mouth' will beat Apple and Samsung in Europe
World Mobile Telephone Factory No.3 won't fling the big bucks around just yet
Brazilian president signs internet civil rights law
Marco Civil bill enshines 'net neutrality', 'privacy' as law
DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6
What's stopping a tinyputer invasion? An IP address shortage, says Cisco
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.