In late October, controversy erupted when Telegram’s Russian founder Pavel Durov claimed that Iran’s ICT Ministry had requested “spying and censorship tools” from the company. When Durov refused, Telegram was blocked in Iran.
As this episode demonstrates, the Iranian government has minimal control over foreign social media companies. Yet the government may have an easier time when it comes to domestic platforms. In this month’s report, we take a look at the terms and conditions that Iranian social networks require users to agree to, and how they relate to Iranian media law.
We’ll also cover the dispute over Telegram filtering, renewed criticism of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, and the announcement that Iranians can start shopping at online retailers like Amazon, Ebay... read more
In this month’s report, we’ll tease apart the recently-announced reforms to Iran’s top internet policy-making body, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC). Has the body’s expansion handed more power to the Supreme Leader? Or is Rouhani’s government still calling the shots?
Also this month, we can see some signs of growing foreign interest in Iran’s tech and communications sectors as we enter the post-sanctions era. Will the trend continue? Tech problems and outages continue to afflict a number of foreign services operating in Iran, and despite its slow progress the government is insisting that its ‘National Internet’ project is going ahead. Learn more about the barriers and opportunities facing Iran’s communications sector inside this month’s report.read more
In September Small Media launched advocacyassembly.org, the world's first free multilingual and multimedia online training platform for human rights activists and journalists. All the interactive multimedia courses are available in English, Persian and Arabic and the platform is completely mobile friendly, allowing students to learn new skills where ever they want in their preferred language.
“Advocacy Assembly is revolutionising the field of providing education to the civil society actors. It also allows a variety of organisations to offer their content to the learners from around the world in an engaging and interactive way in one place,” said Mahmood Enayat, Director of Small Media.
The... read more
Last month’s report introduced Filtershekanha, a bi-weekly mailing list distributing information about the latest circumvention tools. This month, we again made use of the the service’s mailing list, this time to distribute a survey gauging Iranian attitudes to online privacy.
In addition to unpacking the results of the survey, we’ve got a roundup of all the latest ICT - related statements from politicians and policy makers. Highlights this month include: the ongoing fight between Rouhani’s ICT Ministry and a telecommunications company managed by the Revolutionary Guard, ICT Minister Mahmoud Vaezi’s take on banned social media, and the latest updates regarding the national Internet (SHOMA) and the “intelligent filtering” system.read more
Iran’s pervasive internet filtering system makes circumvention tools necessary for many run-of-the-mill online activities, such as posting a status update on Facebook or uploading a picture to Instagram. This requirement can make using the internet in Iran a persistent and frustrating challenge. Luckily for Iranian netizens, there are resources available to help them gain access to blocked sites. In what follows, we’ll examine one such resource.
This month’s report looks at Filtershekanha, a mailing list which sends its subscribers biweekly updates on the latest circumvention tools and provides instructions about how to download the required software. Through a combination of an interview with the list’s founder Nariman Gharib and a presentation and discussion of circumvention... read more
This month’s report looks at Iran’s presentation at the recent WSIS forum, a UN-sponsored event which forms part of the preparatory process ahead of the World Summit on the Information Society’s (WSIS) 10th anniversary review. In particular, we focus on a presentation by the Iranian delegation entitled “ethical dimensions of the Information Society” because it outlines Iran’s position on three seminal internet-related issues: anonymity, privacy, and freedom of information. We’ll take a look at what Iran’s delegation said about each of these topics, and offer some analysis regarding what their statements might mean. We’ll also provide some background information on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and global Internet governance processes more generally.
In... read more
This month’s report takes a look at Samandehi, the official registry for Iranian websites. All websites are required by law to register with Samandehi’s database, but is this law strictly enforced? To find out, we tested some of Iran’s most popular websites, as well as several state-affiliated pages. In short, our findings suggest that while many private websites register with Samandehi, the government tends to turn a blind eye when regime-friendly websites skirt the registration requirement.
We’ve also rounded up some of the top tweets containing the filternet hashtag, along with statements from ICT policymakers including an increase in SHOMA funding and Culture Minister Ali Jannati’s justification for using social media.read more
This month’s report looks at Iran’s domestic Certificate Authorities (CAs), which websites and internet
users rely on to ensure sensitive data remains encrypted. The Iranian government claims it needs
domestic CAs because sanctions make it difficult for Iranian websites to buy digital certificates from
abroad. But is this the whole story?
In addition to addressing that question, this report features a new segment called #Filterwatch,
tracking the trending Twitter discussions about internet filtering in Iran. We also have a roundup of
statements from ICT policymakers and politicians, including plans for a new national satellite and
an explanation of why ICT Minister Mahmoud Vaezi was reprimanded by MPs.
In mid-February, Iranian officials announced the launch of three domestic search engines, which they claim can be used without any interference from the filtering system. This month’s report puts this claim to the test by searching for some sensitive keywords on Iranian search engines and comparing the results to Google.
It won’t come as a surprise to readers that our findings suggest that Iranian search engines do indeed filter results for some sensitive keywords. However, it turns out that this filtering sometimes works in unexpected ways, and other times results we thought might be censored were actually pretty easy to find.
We think this report offers some introductory insights into how Iranian search engines work, and how they interact with the country’s filtering... read more
Over the past two years, Small Media has produced monthly reports which look in detail at various aspects of Iranian internet policy, and track the statements of ICT policy makers. In this special feature in our Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy (IIIP) report series, at the halfway point of Rouhani’s first term, we take a step back to examine broader trends in Iran’s approach to internet regulation.
Through detailed reviews of media perceptions, censorship institutions, and ICT spending priorities, we aim to offer a thorough overview of the important developments in Iran’s internet policy over the past few years, and examine what changes (if any) Rouhani’s election might have brought about. We conclude with three predictions of trends that we think will shape the future... read more