Iran blocks 'illegal' VPNs that help citizens evade Internet filters

By on March 11, 2013, 10:22 AM

Iran has a long history of trying to control what its citizens can and can't see on the web. From blocking Google searches and all foreign email providers, to cutting access to social networks services and even announcing plans of creating its own domestic "Internet" -- an intranet which would be isolated from the rest of the world. Those more technically inclined have been able to bypass these state-sponsored filters for a while using proxy servers and virtual private networks, but now it seems authorities are tightening their grip.

According to Reuters, Iranian authorities have blocked the use of most “illegal” VPN services in the last few days. Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, the head of parliament’s information and communications technology committee, explained that “only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used.” As you'd expect, those sanctioned VPNs are subject to surveillance and adhere to the official website blocks.

The latest crackdown comes just a few months ahead of a presidential election scheduled for June, its first since 2009. Back then Iranians protested election results en masse, leading to the worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Protesters used services like Facebook to communicate during those "Green Movement" demonstrations and apparently the government is determined to prevent a repeat this time.

Government officials had previously said that Iran’s domestic intranet would be ready by this month, which could  also mean the VPN ban is a precursor to a wider rollout of the new system.

Sobhani-Fard noted that the government's move to block VPN access may also have inadvertently cut off access to widely used sites such as Yahoo and Google, adding that parliament will study the issue this week.




User Comments: 13

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NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Wow Iran seems more strict than China. Males me feel better about not living over there xD

m4a4 m4a4 said:

You can always tell when the governing body is doing stupid stuff when they limit media coverage to the point of propaganda... -_-

Tygerstrike said:

Yet another situation where a govt is taking away its peoples freedom. Where are groups like ANON at? This is one of those situations that ANON would/should be jumping on. Then again....it seems groups like ANON only do attacks that they feel are important. This is a serious issue. Maybe not for America the UK ect. But its just another example of the lose of what little freedoms these ppl have. When will the world stand up and say that everyone should enjoy freedom. Not just sit back and think to themselves that its not happening to them so why should they care.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Real democratic these Iranians. They must've attended Stalin's school of democracy.

JC713 JC713 said:

This is a bit too much. what if someones needs VPNs for work

Twixtea said:

Freedom has died a long time ago here.

Guest said:

Wow Iran seems more strict than China. Males me feel better about not living over there xD

I think you mean makes, not males.

Guest said:

The theocratic regime would not be in power had the U.S. and the British not initiated Operation Ajax in the first place.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Soon as MPAA realizes everyone went VPN to escape six strikes, they'll want a similar law here in the US. Of course, all corporate VPNs will be exempted as long as they're willing to report any "suspicious" activity.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Where are groups like ANON at? This is one of those situations that ANON would/should be jumping on.
You shouldn't expect anything useful from a group that doesn't name themselves. Only prix out for fun, are the ones hiding behind an anonymous moniker.

Ralinger Ralinger said:

Right now only proxifier works in Iran :|

stupid government is stupid

Guest said:

To be fair, it is not «Iran blocks 'illegal' VPNs ...» but rather «Iran blocks illegal VPNs ...»

TheDreams TheDreams said:

This is a bit too much. what if someones needs VPNs for work

You may purchase a VPN from the government but they monitor what you view.

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