Since the emergence of Bitcoin back in 2009, a variety of national governments have been grappling with the conundrum of how far they should recognise, and regulate the cryptocurrency. Whilst some countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken a fairly laissez faire approach towards Bitcoin, the Russian and Indian governments have led the charge in pushing for greater state oversight.
Iran, meanwhile, has been far more sluggish in formulating a coherent Bitcoin policy - only in the early months of 2014 have politicians and regulators started to take an interest. Our report this month reviews the initial findings of Iranian research into Bitcoin, explores potential policy implications, and evaluates the impact of Bitcoin in Iran up until... read more
Although trade sanctions have stunted the development of e-commerce in Iran, recent years have seen renewed efforts by the government to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by the Internet. One of the most significant new measures in this regard has been the introduction of the eNamad licensing system, which mandates the registration of all online stores with the government. This month’s edition of the Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy Report offers a closer look at this new regulatory system, and checks in on health of Iranian e-commerce.
At the same time as Iran has been seeking to regulate online markets, certain segments of the establishment have been stepping up their efforts to regulate and control free expression. In this report we... read more
Despite the election of the moderate Hassan Rouhani to the presidency last year, Iran’s systematic filtering of online content and mobile phone apps continues at full-pace. In this month’s edition of the Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy Report, Small Media takes a closer look at one of the bodies most deeply-enmeshed with the process of overseeing and directing filtering policies - the ‘Commission to Determine the Instances of Criminal Content’ (or CDICC).
This month’s report also tracks all the usual news about Iran’s filtering system, national Internet policy, and infrastructure development projects. As well as tracking high-profile splits in the establishment over the filtering of the chat app WhatsApp, this month’s report also finds evidence that the government... read more
There can never be too many fresh perspectives from which to look at a news story. With this in mind, our Social Media Monitoring series draws on Iranian social networking sites in order to gain greater insights into the major discussions and debates that are emerging on Iranian cyberspace.
This month's update turns to the story of the five Iranian soldiers that were abducted by Sunni militants in February. Soon after the story broke, the #FreeIranianSoldiers hashtag engulfed Twitter, and attracted tens of thousands of mentions. But a month on, where was the story at?
We picked up the narrative as the hashtag once again surged in activity at the end of March, in order to find... read more
The National Information Network, or SHOMA, is by far the most high-profile and controversial project of the Iranian Information and Communivcations Technology (ICT) Ministry. It has been in development since 2006, and since then it has garnered a great deal of attention from Iranian citizens, world governments, and the global media. The press has been very occupied with the implications of SHOMA (also known as the ‘National Internet’, ‘National Intranet’, or the ‘Halal Internet’) for Iranian web users, with an assortment of articles from the BBC, The Guardian, and... read more
In our previous report, we undertook an investigation of the Iranian government’s budget for the year ahead, and made a number of hypotheses about Iran’s future ICT policies. One of the projects that dominated in Iran’s ICT budget allocations for the year was the National Information Network (or, SHOMA), which is set to be rolled out in full by the end of 1394 (March 2016). The project is already behind schedule, however, with the previous target of 60% of Iranian families and businesses being able to access SHOMA by the end of March 2014 looking increasingly unattainable.
The past month has, however, seen Iran take a few more tentative steps in the direction of establishing SHOMA, in the form of new regulations and important infrastructure development projects that... read more
With a new Iranian fiscal year comes a brand new budget, and with a new budget comes the opportunity to gain an array of fresh insights into Iranian information policy for the year ahead. Although the new Iranian financial year won’t commence until 1 Farvardin 1393 (21 March 2014), President Hassan Rouhani submitted the new year’s budgetary plan to the Iranian Parliament on 8 December 2013, allowing us to engage in some closer analysis of the new numbers.
Then, on 22 December 2013, the research department of the Iranian Parliament - the Islamic Consultative Assembly Research Center (ICARC) - published an in-depth report reviewing the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology's (ICT) budget for the next fiscal year, and shedding some light on the ICT Ministry’s... read more
We’ve got some very exciting news to share with you. After months and months of intensive statistical, graphical and coding wizardry, we’re today releasing our latest report: “Unmasking the Arzeshi: Iran's Conservative Cyber-Activists and the 2013 Presidential Election”.
The best part of this project is that you can interact with the data, and draw your own conclusions, so we hope you take the opportunity to click around. Here’s a quick overview of the report, we hope you find it interesting!
The Iranian government claims it has thousands of hardline supporters actively waging an online war against the regime’s political opponents, but what’s the real story?
Over the past two years, the Iranian government has thrown out some impressive... read more
Since our last Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy Report (IIIP) we have witnessed a number of significant incidents that have offered us glimpses at the trajectory of Iranian Internet policy in the Rouhani era. We have identified three central themes:
- Iran’s filtering policies have changed dramatically since October 2013, with the main focus of censorship shifting to mobile applications rather than websites. Small Media has found that Iran’s Filtering Committee has been very active in overseeing the removal of different mobile applications from Iranian app stores such as Cafe Bazaar.
- The Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) has recently stepped up its harassment of online activists and bloggers, arresting at least 21... read more
On Friday 15 November we held an official launch event for our report ‘off the Beaten Track’ at P21 Gallery. The launch included the film screening of ‘Kick in Iran’ and an expert panel featuring athletes Mandana Mehranpour, Shirin Gerami and Khadijah Safari.
Misrepresented and under-represented in the media, the event was a great opportunity to discuss the representation of women’s sport in Iran and challenge misconceptions.
One discussion point raised during the Q&A was about the accessibility of sports to women in Iran. Mandana Mehranpour,... read more