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Gmail service back up in China after days of darkness

Google Transparency Report
Google Transparency Report

After days of darkness, Gmail is back up in China -- at least by a bit.

Data from Google's Transparency Report showed that traffic from China to Gmail was climbing Tuesday, after falling suddenly Friday and hovering around zero through the weekend.

Fingers pointed at regulators Monday for the shutdown. Gmail is popular among Chinese hoping to avoid government monitoring of their email communications.

A Google spokesperson reported that there were no technical problems that would explain the outage, and Earl Zmijewski, vice president of data analytics at U.S.-based Internet analysis firm Dyn Research, said his tests showed that China's government had blocked Google IP addresses in Hong Kong used by people on the mainland to access Gmail services.

Since Google closed its China search engine in 2009 amid hacking scandals and tight censorship, access to Google services has been periodically limited or blocked. Web access in China to Gmail has been blocked since June, according to Greatfire.org, a China-based advocacy group for Internet freedom, but users had been able to access the mail service through mobile apps or third-party email software such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail until the block.

The uptick in traffic suggests that this loophole has once again been opened.

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