Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

Summary: Following in the footsteps of the former governments of Egypt and Libya, Iran is cutting its people off from the Internet.

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Internet censorships falls over Iran.

State Internet censorship falls over Iran.

CNET's Charles Cooper  is reporting that Iran is cutting its citizens off from many major Web services and sites. You'd think authoritative governments would learn from the lessons of the Arab Spring. Egypt, Libya, and Syria all turned off the Internet. Egypt and Libya now have new governments and Syria is fighting a civil war. Cutting off the people off from the Internet is clearly such a smart move.

Unlike Egypt, Libya, and Syria, though Iran hasn't simply turned off external Internet access. Instead, the Iranian government appears to be blocking access to popular, external e-mails services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo. In addition access to at least one major social network, Facebook, seems to have been cut.

Other reports that claim to be from Iran say that "Since Thursday [the] Iranian government has shut down the https protocol which has caused almost all Google services (gmail, and google.com itself) to become inaccessible. Almost all websites that reply on Google APIs (like wolfram alpha) won't work. Accessing to any website that replies on https (just imaging how many websites use this protocol, from Arch Wiki to bank websites). Also accessing many proxies is also impossible. There are almost no official reports on this and with many websites and my email accounts restricted I can just confirm this based on my own and friends experience."

Why is this happening? There have been some reports of protests being planned for tomorrow, which is when Iranian regime celebrates its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Like China, Iran has its own state-run firewall. In recent days, this firewall has grown more restrictive. According to The Washington Post, methods which have been used in the past to get around the national firewall have started failing. The eventual goal is for Iran to create a "National Internet." In this "Internet," Iranian users could only see approved sites and sites from outside the country.

Ironically, even while Iran is clamping down on its country's Internet users, companies like Twitter, which played a major role in the abortive Iranian 2009 protests, are now self-censoring user content in some countries. And, while de facto Internet censorship attempts such as Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) have failed for now, other such attempts to censor the Internet, in the name of copyright instead of state security, such as the UK's Digital Economy Act are continuing on.

Related Stories:

Iran blocks Internet access

Twitter begins censoring content: How this will affect you

Libya turns off the Internet and the Massacres begin

How to crash the Internet

How the Internet went out in Egypt

Topics: Browser, Government, Government US, Software Development

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24 comments
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  • test

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    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • I feel sorry for the Citizens of Iran

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      who really have no choice at the present but to submit.

      Those who are reading this, if you can get to shellmix.com (there are many) you can obtain a free shell account.

      Once your account is created, you can tunnel your activity with ssh (one need not use the default port 22, say 64222) and log into the shell account with:

      $ssh -D 8080 user@domain_name.com:port

      Then in Firefox, you can set your proxy to use socks5 listening on localhost port 8080

      At that point all your dns/http activity will tunnel over port 64222 to the domain of your free shell account and then proxy from there. Totally encrypted.

      Please be careful.
      Peace. Out.
      Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

    It is 1984 in Iran.
    hayneiii@...
    • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

      @hayneiii@...

      Actually it is 1800, 1984 is really modern for Iran. :((
      majidazimi
      • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

        @majidazimi [i]1984[/i] is a book about a dystopian nation that watches and controls virtually every aspect of its citizen's lives.
        CobraA1
  • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

    I feel like I am watching a game of civilization being played out in real life.
    slickjim
  • Wierd

    This blog article keeps switching between two different sets of comments.

    Back on topic. Censorship, whether partial (think of the great firewall of China) or complete, is only one method used by governments to control their populations. Don't forget about propaganda, either with or without censorship.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Are you saying it's no big deal?

      @Rabid Howler Monkey <br>While governments have many tools for controlling their populations, propaganda is much less effective if people are free to question it publicly. Also it's much harder to prevent protests if people can freely communicate with each other.<br><br>Unlike some of the things that are sometimes called censorship (like bookstores refusing to stock certain publications on moral grounds), this is the real thing.<br><br>Further response:<br><br>Propaganda without censorship only works to the extent that people refuse to entertain opinions contrary to the ones they already hold (a form of self censorship), or in conjunction with social pressure (difficult for governments to enforce). <br><br>In short, it's a lot less effective than propaganda with censorship.
      John L. Ries
      • RE: Are you saying it's no big deal?

        @John L. Ries Nope. I'm saying that they're *ALL* big deals. Propaganda without censorship is working quite nicely in the U.S.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • @John L. Ries .. So basically

        ... what you're alluding to is, better the devil you know than the one you don't?

        I hope not, but i can't read your logic any other way. Iran's wicked, blanket-censorship is an affront to any free thinking people (or otherwise) living there. I couldn't agree more with you on that point. But you really ought to be worrying more about the clandestine agents at play closer to home like Google, MS, NSA, CIA, FBI, Google, Dept. of Homeland Security, Google, the major news networks (e.g. CNN, Fox) and any other federally funded or contracted organization / party ... oh, and by the way, did i mention Google?

        Simply put, if we in the West think we are far removed from the events occurring brazenly, in places like Iran, North Korea and China ... then i think that just falls under the category of complete naivety and gullibility.

        [i]" ... All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. "[/i]

        [b]George Orwell[/b] - from [i]Animal Farm[/i]
        thx-1138_
  • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

    Those people must take over their country from that skinny punk.
    Turn it back into Persia.
    MoeFugger
    • Actually...

      @MoeFugger <br>...the name "Iran" predates the current regime by many years. Foreigners stopped calling the country "Persia" because Reza Pahlavi (the next to last Shah) insisted (pretty much the same reason Istanbul is no longer called "Constantinople").
      John L. Ries
    • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

      @MoeFugger
      Off-topic, but I don't think the name of the country (or changing it) matters much. Going back to the old name of Persia would be troublesome since it represents only one of the major descendants of the whole population.
      Cybernetizen
  • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

    The good news is that we will finally get to test the concept that the Internet is self healing in case of a nuclear attack...
    Tony Burzio
  • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

    "You???d think authoritative governments would learn"

    LOL.

    Good one.

    No, they don't learn. They just dictate.

    All the better, though - it's time they had a revolution anyways. I don't think their government is doing their people any good.
    CobraA1
    • What do they need to learn? American naivete?

      None of the nations the blog author cited are becoming free democracies; they are all simply exchanging one set of tyrants for another. So much for the internet leading to freedom. Heck, people around the world are happily voting away their freedoms for the promise of a chicken in every pot, including Americans and europeans.
      baggins_z
      • Absolutely right

        @baggins_z

        Fear and laziness are the two great enemies of freedom. Most people willingly trade freedom for the illusion of safety, and others are happy to let someone else do the thinking for them. There are plenty of people who want to be led, who are willing to be treated like pets. If you are a true lover of freedom, you will always find fellow citizens who are willing to sell you out because they themselves don't have the gumption to think things through or to take their lives into their own hands.
        sissy sue
      • So what we need to do is...

        @baggins_z <br>...prop up existing authoritarian governments on the theory that ordinary people are too stupid to choose anything better? That hasn't worked out all that well in the past. Do you think it will work better now?
        John L. Ries
  • Iran is not special here

    The same is happening in America. The powers that be here are looking forward to a future (via NDAA and recent laws) to both shut down websites critical of government and "disappear" anyone who doesn't believe government is good. Just look up the statements by Senators Leiberman and Graham.
    Jow_Blow
  • RE: Iran cuts off access to popular Web sites

    The 1st sentence is so allegorical: Following in the footsteps of the former governments of Egypt and Libya...<br><br>My work-related communications has suffered during the past few days and I'm really concerned about a future without email/msngr; imagine that! FB had been filtered long ago, not just now. Getting around firewall works very rarely, with low speed, and no guarantee. The regime banking system suffers too whenever they attempt such a cyber-jailing test.<br><br>It is a test for the world to watch closely and learn. I think the free world has done little during the past few years since the clamping down, attacks, and snooping on the cyber side took a harsher turn on the Iranian part. I hope it's not a matter of lack of expertise.
    Cybernetizen