Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Iran blocks virtual private network access to Gmail, Yahoo

Iran has reportedly blocked many foreign-based virtual private networks, or VPNs, severely restricting access to many websites. (news taken from News.Az, DNA and ValueWalk)

The VPNs are illegal in Iran, but offered a way to freely use the Internet, and popular sites like Facebook.

According to a report by the independent Donya-e Eghtesad daily, lawmaker Ramazan Ali Sobhani said that his parliamentary committee in charge of communications would review the results of the block on VPNs, which went into effect last Wednesday.

Sobhani said that the block restricted access to some international email services such as Gmail and Yahoo in some parts of the country, Fox News reports.

The report pointed out that since the street unrest that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2009 re-election, Iran has tightened restrictions on VPN use and occasionally blocked them.

But the attempts to block VPN use inside its borders appear to have been unsuccessful according to anecdotal evidence.

According to a story, one protestor posted on Facebook that he had been able to get around the restrictions and use a VPN to access the site. Facebook is one of the many websites that Iranian officials have deemed illegal.

Hide My Ass,” a popular proxy network, has reported that its service has not been hampered by the government’s recent efforts. According to the company 1200 Iranians use its service every week. The firm’s owner, Joshua Van Raalte, says that attempts to block VPNs and proxies in authoritarian countries have been completely unsuccessful so far.

Iran’s government has a policy of blocking access to websites it deems bad for the country’s morals. That definition extends to social networks, email providers and the web sites of illegal opposition parties. VPNs are one way in which ordinary Iranians have sought to get around those blocks.

(news taken from News.AzDNA and ValueWalk)



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