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The Iranian Government, already notorious for its invasive program of online censorship, has further increased internet restrictions this week by heavily limitative the capabilities of Google Search, and completely banning access to Google Mail within the country’s borders.

According to a Government spokesman, the two popular services will be “filtered nationwide, and will remain filtered until further notice”, allegedly in response to Google’s refusal to take down an inflammatory video posted on its YouTube service. Whilst the American company does not condone the message of the video, it has said that it hopes to provide an environment for “people to express different opinions”, and removing the video would be contrary to this policy.

The latest move is said to be just another step towards the creation of a so-called “Iranian Intranet”, whereby the Government will maintain complete control over the information that can be accessed by regular citizens. According to one expert, this vision will become a reality within the next three years, making it incredibly difficult for the people of Iran to access unbiased media coverage of world events, or converse with like-minded people without repercussions.

A number of Iran’s business leaders have condemned the move, stating that it is students and business people who use the services the most, with the new restrictions making it difficult to compete in an increasingly globalised world. At present, the only way for these groups to gain regular and unrestricted access to Google’s services is by using a VPN provider, a technique that has been increasingly used across the world to avoid unjustifiably restricted content.

Using a VPN ( provider has been commonplace practice in certain circles in Iran for some time now, although this latest move is set to make it a necessity for those who wish to stay informed and access unrestricted information without being tracked. Iranians can still access an unsecured version of Google Search, although this puts them at risk of having their location and personal data stolen by prying eyes. A VPN provider, on the other hand, will ensure that a user’s web traffic is encrypted and their IP address kept hidden, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a freer and more open internet.

Antivirus software and closer monitoring of computer usage will go some way to improving businesses’ internet safety. However, there is no guarantee that new viruses will not get breach the system, while you cannot expect to check up on your staff’s personal internet browsing.

To consolidate your efforts against external attacks, it would be a good idea to invest in a company-wide anonymous VPN service. This will make your internet connection at work more secure by encrypting your staff’s internet browsing, ensuring that hackers have a harder time of tracking IP addresses and gaining access to sensitive data. What’s more, a company can require its staff to use an anonymous VPN when they are out of the office, helping remove the dangers associated with public networks.

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