China’s Internet censorship authorities seem to have waited until the day after Christmas to block all remaining access to Gmail—the popular Google email service—to Internet users in China. For years, the Gmail website has been blocked. Users accepted this as a fact of life, and got around it by using email clients, like iOS Mail, Thunderbird, and Outlook. Those programs access Google’s servers without going through the website, using protocols like IMAP and POP3. Now, all those other channels are blocked.
China is blocking access to Google’s popular Gmail service, according to data from Google and analysis from Dyn Research. Traffic has dropped to nearly zero, per Google’s transparency reports, which provides real-time information about usage of its services. Dyn Research, an Internet analysis firm, said it confirmed that an “IP-level” block of Gmail had occurred. “China has a number of ways they can block content. One of the crudest ways is to just block an IP address, and when you do that, you block all the content available at the IP,” Earl Zmijewski, Dyn’s vice-president of data analytics, told Mashable. Zmijewski said that much of China’s Gmail access is routed through Hong Kong IP addresses, which were being blocked. He said he checked six different locations, and found that each one was blocked.