NCRI - The Iranian regime’s authorities heavily restricted the internet in an attempt to quell the anti-regime protests but the Iranian people have been evading the censorship through the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).
When the regime’s Supreme National Security Council first slowed down internet speeds, shut down certain applications, and even shut down the VPNs that Iranians have used for years to evade restrictions, tech entrepreneur M. Nouri was set back and his company, which employs 15 people, was heavily affected.
He said: “We weren’t able to communicate to our users and we lost payments.”
Still, it only took him three days to find a different server to host his mobile app design company and get his business up and running again.
Others who have seen their businesses affected by the crackdown have not been so lucky, such as the ride-hailing app Snapp and thousands of small businesses that make handmade items.
Some people are worried that despite some people being able to evade restrictions that the Regime has the upper hand.
A. Rashidi, an internet security researcher, said: “It’s really hard to get around it. Almost all of the circumvention tools are blocked and the Iranian government is doing whatever they can do to block it.”
He continued: “It wasn’t this bad in 2009. I’m not able to talk to my family on some days over the internet.”
Even Silicon Valley companies are reluctant to advocate for free and fair internet in Iran, because of economic sanctions according to Collin Anderson, an independent researcher on internet policy.
He said: “There is a lost opportunity for enabling a free flow of information in Iran because tech companies have made overly conservative decisions with how they will comply with U.S. sanctions.”
The protests began on December 28, over high unemployment and a steep rise in living costs in Iran’s second-largest city Mashhad, but soon grew into a broad anti-regime protest.
Now in its second week, these are the largest protests since the 2009 Green Movement over the rigged presidential election. At least 50 people have died in clashes with the Regime, and 1,000 have been imprisoned and are facing the death penalty.
In order to stop the protesters from communicating, the Regime shut down Telegram and Instagram, slowed down internet speeds, and even cut off the internet altogether. It is a tactic often used by the Regime to stop popular revolt against them.
Every time that the Regime attempts to censor the internet, the Iranian people just get better at evading the sanctions.
Source: Los Angeles Times