Iran Beefs up Internet Censorship With Proxy Crackdown
March 11, 2013 12:55 PM
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
(Source: The Telegraph)
Ban makes it harder to use Facebook, Skype
While most industrialized nations today exercise a degree of online censorship, Iran has often been billed
as among the worst
. Much like China, Iran both blocks
material questioning the ruling party
, and material it finds morally questionable (such as pornography).
I. Iran Bans Uncensored VPNs
In regimes like Iran, one common way to get around filters is to use an encrypted virtual proxy network (VPN), which funnels requests for forbidden content, encrypted, to servers outside of Iran, and then replies, encrypted, to the customer. But Iranian internet censorship ratcheted up this week as state authorities began blocking traffic from encrypted VPNs.
Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, a Parliamentarian from Iran's ruling ABII party and the head of parliament's information and communications technology committee, calls VPN use "illegal" for most citizens. In comments to state news agency Mehr, he remarks, "Within the last few days illegal VPN ports in the country have been blocked. Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used."
The blockade inadvertently cut off access to Google Inc. (
) and Yahoo! Inc. (
) search portals, which are
typically allowed in censored form
. Mr. Sobhani-Fard said the government was looking into that unpleasant side effect of the new censorship rollout.
Iran no longer is allowing the use of external VPNs, in a bid to step up internet censorship.
[Image Source: Reuters]
The crackdown comes after an announcement in January by Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi, secretary of Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council to Mehr. In that announcement, Mr. Behabadi had stated that only registered VPNs -- who operate inside of Iran and are government monitored -- would be allowed. Banks and other financial institutions that have "legitimate" security reasons for VPN use were encouraged to switch over to the domestic options.
reports that an internet user in Isfahan, Iran's second largest city, confirms that VPNs are no longer working. The man, who went by "Mohamad", comments, "VPNs are cut off. They've shut all the ports."
The blockade bans popular internet telephony services such as Skype and Viber. It also blocks access to the world's most popular social network -- Facebook. Iran views Facebook, Inc.'s (
) network as a portal to dissent and has banned it; yet despite that the network has been popular in Iran thanks to the use of VPNs.
Facebook remains popular in Iran, despite being formally banned.
[Image Source: Int'l Herald Tribune]
"Mohamad" reports that he and his peers are using "alternatives" to traditional VPNs in order to access Facebook.
II. Political Unrest is Boiling in Islamist Republic
The crackdown on VPNs coincides with a dangerous time for Iran's ruling regime.
A presidential election will be held this fall, amid tough inflation and poverty issues. Iran's currency has
as much as 25 percent per week. While Iran's leaders blame the
U.S. and international sanctions
, many in Iran are growing frustrated with the leadership direction.
Last election -- in 2009 -- saw the nation in not-quite-as-bad financial state, but still saw record levels of unrest. The results of that election were contested, leading to protests, and a brutal crackdown by the government of two-term President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In recent weeks there have already been major protests.
In recent weeks Iranian protesters have clashed with riot police, similar to the riots of 2009 (pictured). [Image Source: Wired]
In response, Iran briefly banned Gmail, Google's popular email client, looking to further cut off potential contact between government critics. However, so many politicians in the ruling party used Google's service that there was an internal backlash, and access was restored.
In the long term Iran is hoping to switch citizens onto its own miniature version of the internet, which will be monitored and air-gapped from foreign networks. However, moving the nation's 75 million people on such a network is a daunting task, and one that the nation's troubled economy seems ill prepared to manage.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
Iran to Filter Google/Gmail After YouTube Refuses to Take Down Anti-Muslim Film
September 24, 2012, 7:47 PM
President Barack Obama to Impose Sanctions on Iran, Syria for Technology Abuse
April 23, 2012, 11:03 AM
"Radical" Iranian Bloggers Could Face Death for Their Writings
July 8, 2008, 8:21 AM
Report: Numerous Governments Enacting Internet Censorship
May 20, 2007, 1:49 AM
Science & Environment
February 20, 2017, 6:37 AM
The USA’s newest weather satellite sends first photos.
January 24, 2017, 6:41 AM
Netflix took a decision to invest in original content
January 19, 2017, 7:00 AM
Amazon Airborne Fulfillment Center – Your Merchandise Drop-Shipped from the Clouds
December 29, 2016, 5:00 AM
Amazon is experimenting with a new kind of grocery stores, Amazon Go
December 8, 2016, 5:00 AM
Google has developed Deep Learning Algorithm to detect Diabetic Eye Disease
December 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Samsung Galaxy S8, Rumored Launch Date!
March 18, 2017, 6:45 AM
Lenovo MIIX 510 – Excellent 2-In-One Tablet with Unique Watchband Hinge
March 17, 2017, 7:50 AM
Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming G1 – Intel Thunderbolt 3 Certified Motherboard
March 9, 2017, 6:25 AM
Xiaomi Mi Note 2 – This Chinese Phablet is the Best
February 24, 2017, 7:25 AM
Lenovo ThinkPad T460 - Ultra-Thin and Feather-light
March 3, 2017, 6:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Apple buys an automation app called Workflow. The deal was completed today and brings the app along with its developers.
Mar 23, 2017, 7:35 AM
Apple Announces new color for iPhones and iPads
Mar 22, 2017, 7:45 AM
Instagram: You Can Now Save Live Videos For Later
Mar 21, 2017, 7:49 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 to Get New Color Scheme
Mar 20, 2017, 7:45 AM
What else to worry about?
Mar 17, 2017, 6:45 AM
Icon of the Day: Intel/ NVIDIA or Mobileye
Mar 16, 2017, 6:15 AM
JUST IN - Twitter Hijacked : High-Profile Account Accesses
Mar 15, 2017, 7:07 AM
Mar 14, 2017, 7:30 AM
News and Tips
Mar 13, 2017, 6:30 AM
iPhone 8 – May Not Get Curved Screen
Mar 11, 2017, 8:00 AM
California paves way to self-driving car tests without humans
Mar 11, 2017, 7:18 AM
Smart Machines V hackers
Mar 10, 2017, 7:00 AM
Uber Can Resume Autonomous Car Testing in California
Mar 9, 2017, 6:50 AM
Mar 8, 2017, 7:09 AM
Mar 7, 2017, 8:45 AM
World news 3-6
Mar 6, 2017, 5:40 AM
Mar 4, 2017, 7:40 AM
Mixed News of the Day
Mar 4, 2017, 6:32 AM
Jaguar Land Rover invests in ride-sharing
Mar 3, 2017, 7:00 AM
Mixed News of The World:
Mar 2, 2017, 7:02 AM
World New 3-1
Mar 1, 2017, 6:30 AM
Gaming News of The Day
Feb 28, 2017, 6:56 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information