Just a week after cutting off access to email and social networking sites, the Iranian government has blocked Virtual Private Networks, apparently to boost support for the ruling party in the upcoming election. Yes, because we saw how well that worked in Egypt.
VPN is a system that encrypts communications within a public telecommunication infrastructure, allowing for secured communications between a “home” and “remote” office. In Iran, it’s primarily used to circumvent the government’s extensive Internet filtering software that blocks access to foreign news sites and social networks. Last week, Iranian citizens suffered extended outages of email service and access to sites like Gmail and YouTube. However now, “Email, proxies and all the secure channels that start with ‘https’ are not available,” a Tehran-based technology expert, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
Since the popular revolt in 2009, the Iranian government has systematically clamped down on all online access as a means of stifling the Internet’s use as a forum for dissent. The country will hold Parliamentary elections on March 2nd, so we’ll have to wait and see if the government relaxes its stance after that point or will continue to turn the screws on its citizens. [Reuters via Ubergizmo]
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