Since then, Microsoft, on one of its technical help sites, has denied that it had deliberately disabled HTTPS for some of its users. The statement reads: "We are aware of an issue that impacted some Hotmail users trying to enable HTTPs. That issue has now been resolved. Account security is a top priority for Hotmail and our support for HTTPS is worldwide - we do not intentionally limit support by region or geography and this issue was not restricted to any specific region of the world. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers that this may have caused."
Inconvenience? The wrong e-mail being read by the powers that be in some of these countries could lead to a one way trip to the closest firing squad.
To the best I can tell, from checking Microsoft support groups, there were no reports of wide-spread HTTPS outages. On the other hand, even now, the vast majority of people are blissfully unaware of the danger of their e-mail or social network messages being intercepted by either governments or just snoopy people using tools like Firesheep. Smart users, no matter where you may live, should adopt secure Internet options to keep their online activities private. Most people though, I'm sorry to say, never even pay attention to whether they're protected or not.
I've checked in with both Arbor Networks and Renesys, two companies that provide high-end Internet services and track international Internet issues, to see what they knew about Syria, or other countries, blocking HTTPS use. Neither though have gotten back to me in time for this report.