January 19th, 2011 | Published in Google Photos (Picasa)
(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)
During the protests that erupted in Iran following the disputed Presidential election in June 2009, the central government in Tehran deported all foreign journalists, shut down traditional media outlets, closed off print journalism and disrupted cell phone lines. The government also infiltrated networks, posing as activists and using false identities to round up dissidents. In spite of this, the sharing of information using the Internet prevailed. YouTube and Twitter were cited by journalists, activists and bloggers as the best source for firsthand accounts and on-the-scene footage of the protests and violence across the country. At the time, though, U.S. export controls and sanctions programs prohibited software downloads to Iran.
Some of those export restrictions have now been lifted and today, for the first time, we’re making Google Earth, Picasa and Chrome available for download in Iran. We’re committed to full compliance with U.S. export controls and sanctions programs and, as a condition of our export licenses from the Treasury Department, we will continue to block IP addresses associated with the Iranian government.
Our products are specifically designed to help people create, communicate, share opinions and find information. And we believe that more available products means more choice, more freedom, and ultimately more power for individuals in Iran and across the globe.