Internet again disrupted in Iran ahead of election

TEHRAN Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:45am EST

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranians faced a second and more extensive disruption of Internet access Monday, just a week after email and social networking sites were blocked, raising concerns about state censorship ahead of parliamentary elections.

The latest Internet blockade affected the most common form of secure connections, including all encrypted international websites outside of Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which display addresses beginning with "https."

"Email, proxies and all the secure channels that start with 'https' are not available," said a Tehran-based technology expert who declined to be identified.

"The situation regarding accessing these websites is even worse than last week because the VPNs are not working."

Many Iranians use virtual private network, or VPN, software to get around the extensive government Internet filter which aims to prevent access to a wide range of websites including many foreign news sites and social networks like Facebook.

Last week, millions of Iranians suffered serious disruption in accessing email and social networking sites amid concerns the government is extending its surveillance on ordinary citizens.

Iranians have grappled with increased obstacles to using the Internet since opposition supporters used social networking to organize protests after the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The government denied any fraud in the vote which ignited large-scale street protests that were crushed by security services after eight months.

Iran is preparing to hold parliamentary elections on March 2, the first national election since 2009.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian and Ramin Mostafavi; Writing by Amran Abocar; Editing by Sami Aboudi)

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Comments (2)
A government that takes action to restrict free speech that does not harm others is not a government, but a band of hooligans that practice tyranny. Why are you afraid of your own people as so many similar regimes are? For the simple fact that you abuse your power. Sad that those in power more often than not work to enhance their own lives while cheating the citizens they are supposed to be working for. Cowards, that’s all they are.

Feb 20, 2012 11:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
txgadfly wrote:
The main difference between Iranian Government surveillance and interference with the internet and that of the American Government is the religion of the “watchers”. Americans are simply naive and the American Government slightly more technically adept.

Feb 20, 2012 11:59am EST  --  Report as abuse
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