Google blocked an online email service that was accused of creating fake accounts for members of Congress, a U.S. senator and a presidential candidate, according to a law enforcement official.
The official said the company blocked the service from Gmail in late January and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The email service had previously been blocked by the U.K.-based company because it had been accused of fraud, and its users were also blocked from receiving Google’s services in other countries.
Google said it was notifying affected users and removing any related websites.
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of People in Detention said on Wednesday that it had received reports of fake Gmail accounts being used to send threatening messages.
“This appears to be an attempt to cause violence against and to intimidate political dissidents by attempting to cause them to contact law enforcement authorities through the use of fake email accounts,” the group said in a statement.
In the latest effort to block the service, Google’s U.F.O. team found several accounts that appeared to belong to a member of the House of Representatives, the official said.
The messages appeared to be coming from accounts linked to the House Republican leadership and other members of the Republican Party.
“As the UFOC, we will work to make sure that our services continue to be blocked, but it is unfortunate that Google is blocking this service,” the official added.
Google, which is the largest provider of email and social media services to businesses worldwide, was forced to stop the service last year after it was accused by the Justice Department of creating a fake email account to receive government business.
In March, the company said it had blocked the email service from using Gmail in the U