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
This month’s report marks a departure from the last few months’ overview of the Iranian tech start-
up scene, and turns instead towards the state’s overarching agenda for the ICT sector in the year
ahead. In January, President Rouhani unveiled his government’s new budget, including spending
plans for the ICT Ministry. Our analysis of this new budget offers some insights into Iran’s thinking
with regard to major new infrastructure and filtering projects, along with its planned investments
Additionally, this month’s report provides a round-up of all the latest news from Iran’s ‘filternet,’
with politicians continuing to trade blows over the censorship of mobile phone apps, and growing chatter about the ‘imminent’ roll-out of... read more
We’re very excited to present our new report, ‘Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran’, which explores the Islamic Republic’s participation in the global conversation on internet governance.
Produced in collaboration with the Internet Policy Observatory, our report offers a comprehensive overview of Iran’s engagements with internet governance issues by tracking Iran’s public statements at internet governance forums, studying its delegations to international events, and comparing its international policy stances against its domestic practices.
The report also examines the Iranian public’s engagement with internet governance issues, and the state of multistakeholderism in Iran. The... read more
Over the past few months, Small Media been working on a series of reports which explore Iran’s incipient startup scene. This latest installment surveys some of the logistical challenges entrepreneurs face, such as securing investment and hosting their servers.
We also take a look at the implications of a few startup events, and conclude by discussing what this series of reports suggests about Iran’s startup ecosystem.
Last month we launched a series of features looking at the current state of Iran’s tech startup scene, and its future prospects. Having received so much fanfare, one could be forgiven for thinking that the country’s tech sector was a Silicon Valley-in-waiting. But for all its immense promise, its burgeoning talent, and boundless creativity, the industry finds its progress hampered by a number of very challenging obstacles. This month’s report looks to cut through the hype, and paint a more sober picture of Iran’s high-tech scene.
In addition to this, our report keeps track of the latest developments in Iran’s censorship processes, including fresh details about the deployment of the ‘intelligent filtering’ system. On top of that, we’ve got new information about private Basiji... read more