I try to stay up with things especially all things search so I watched with interest the Kerfuffle surrounding the alleged movie “The Innocence of Muslims” and how it impacted our good friends at Google. First I should note that I feel the protests across the Muslim world are entirely justified; indeed there should have been protests of even greater size across the entire western world too. Not protesting the offense to Allah rather protesting the horrible production values and acting. I could make a better film with my iPhone and the first ten random people and a camel in line at the post office. When I first tracked the “movie” down I actually though it was some kind of elaborate prank. It’s so very bad it’s almost funnier than Life of Brian. The fake beards and horrible green screen technique are frankly beyond laughable. In any event the loonies running the asylum also known as Iran immediately banned YouTube lest any of their citizenry be offended by this horrible trailer (there is no evidence of a horrible whole film) and apparently inadvertently also banned Google and Gmail at the same time. The chief Techno-Islamist (TI as opposed to IT?) in charge of keeping the west out Mohammad Reza Miri was hilariously quoted by AFP as saying ’Unfortunately, we do not yet have enough technical knowhow to differentiate between these two services. We wanted to block YouTube and Gmail was also blocked, which was involuntary,’ I guess the really smart people over there are focused on developing nukes.
It turns out you can ban YouTube and people will live without cat videos but take away their Gmail and all hell breaks out. There were reports of higher ups in the Islamic Republic issuing an edict to the minister of information to the effect of “turn our email back on…or else!” I guess the “else” they had in mind was pretty scary as less than a week later both Google and Gmail have been restored offering convenient access to all the evil the west can offer. The real folks in Iran are so keen on getting uninterrupted access to all that evil that there is a burgeoning cottage industry of IP providers who offer VPNs to circumvent the Techno-Islamists dedicated to keeping the west out.
Google had better watch out lest Sergey Brin join Salman Rushdie at the wrong end of a fatwa. A few months back Google enraged the mad mullahs by taking the label “Persian Gulf” of Google Maps. It’s a body of water the naming of which has been disputed for many years. Rather than appear to take side the Googlers just took the name of the map. They also appear to have dropped the label for the Straits of Hormuz. Iran was so annoyed that they actually threatened to sue Google over this issue….ludicrous I know…but that appears to be the new normal over there.