Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google Earth to Be Available in Cuba, Iran and Sudan

Google Earth to Be Available in Cuba, Iran and Sudan
As Google is working to get authorization from the US government
By Lucian Parfeni, Web News Editor
March 23rd, 2010, 10:08 GMT

Google Earth may finally be coming to people in Cuba, Iran and Sudan
after having been blocked, along with any other US software downloads,
in those countries as part of a trade embargo for the past couple of
years. The US lifted the restrictions earlier this month, but the
mapping software still isn't available in those countries, as Google
claims it isn't as easy as it seems.

The US had imposed export restrictions on the three countries, and
others, because of various international transgressions. The US isn't
the only one imposing these kinds of limitations and the idea is that,
with external pressure, the governments in these countries would be
forced to back down on some of their practices against their own people,
neighboring countries, and so on.

However, while the effectiveness of this move may be debatable when it
comes to physical goods, when it comes to software, especially one that
would improve the transparency in these countries, it's pretty clear
that the blocking is misguided.

The US government finally realized this, after numerous voices argued
the ridiculousness of the restrictions, and lifted some of them on
Internet services and software exports in those countries. With the ban
lifted, Google was free to offer Google Earth in Cuba, Iran and Sudan,
but the process isn't as straightforward as it would seem and it takes
more than just removing the IP and location filters the company employed.

A Google representative had this to say to the Ogle Earth blog, which
has been keeping an eye on the issue: "We're working on the changes
since the day of the US pronouncement. There is much to do, actually,
but we are very excited about it!" At the moment, Google Earth still
isn't accessible from the three countries mentioned, but the situation
should change soon.


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