Google Wants to Expand to Iran, Cuba

Turkish media organizes assault on nation's ban of Google subsidiary YouTube

By Jackson West
|  Tuesday, Mar 9, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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Google Wants to Expand to Iran, Cuba

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These two Cubans might be able to use Google Maps with satellite images to better plan an escape from the island by sea.

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Thanks to a recent decision by United States to relax restrictions on software exports to repressive regimes, Google and other companies will now be able to offer more of their products to countries like Iran, Cuba and the Sudan.

The country recently threatened to suspend its operations in China, where it has been complicit in censoring search results at the behest of the Chinese government -- the same government which is suspected to have aided or abetted hacking attacks on Google.

Meanwhile, Milliyet, a newspaper in Turkey, is taking aim at that government's ban on video sharing site YouTube, a Google subsidiary. Even the Turkish prime minister has admitted to changing his computer's network settings to route around the ban, like many Turkish citizens.

Bloggers have long criticized the ban, but now Milliyet and other national news organizations have picked up the story, saying its an embarrassment to the country which is trying to join the European Union. Milliyet has asked that Istanbul's honorary status of being a European "Capital of Culture" be suspended until the ban is repealed.

As for the expansion of tools like Google Talk into countries with censorship-happy regimes like Cuba and Iran, Google director of policy communications Bob Boorstin "encouraged human rights activists also to rely on platforms other than the Internet for transmitting information," reports the Associated Press.

You know, one that doesn't store and log all your information and then turn them over to local authorities wielding warrants and subpoenas.

Jackson West doesn't really think multinational corporations should be trusted with modern-day samizdats.

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