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Iran Blocks 'Illegal' VPNs, Google, and Yahoo 176

First time accepted submitter voul writes "Iran is at it again. Taking a page from China's playbook, Iran has moved to cut off illegal VPNs. 'Quite aware of the censorship they face, many Iranians use proxy servers over virtual private networks to circumvent government restrictions and mask their activities,' CNET reports. 'However, officials now say they have blocked use of the "illegal" tool.' Slashgear reports that users are 'unable to access social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or use services like Skype to make phone calls. Along with the blocking of the VPNs, the Iranian government have also blocked access to Google and Yahoo.'"
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Iran Blocks 'Illegal' VPNs, Google, and Yahoo

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 10, 2013 @07:56PM (#43134079)

    Soon as MPAA realizes everyone went VPN to escape six strikes, they'll want a similar law here in the US

    Of course all corporate VPNs will be exempt as long as they're willing to report any "suspicious" activity

  • Heh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by detritus. ( 46421 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @08:20PM (#43134165)

    Let's see them try to block SSH and have a functioning internet.

  • by RussR42 ( 779993 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @08:26PM (#43134201)
    The Tehran Chronicle [tehranchronicle.com] article about this mentions recent bans on Facebook and Twitter, then has links to them both after the article...
  • Re:Heh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kobaz ( 107760 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @08:26PM (#43134205)

    People (even Iranian people) need to be able to manage their networks. Block too much and there wont be a functional Iran Internet for much longer.

  • Re:Heh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pseudonym Authority ( 1591027 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @08:35PM (#43134263)

    Block too much and there wont be a functional Iran Internet for much longer.

    I not quite sure that that is one of their top concern.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 10, 2013 @09:53PM (#43134651)

    One problem with this: Iran has a history of doing Deep Packet inspection and dropping all encrypted connections (or at least, non-whitelisted encrypted connections). For now, obfsproxy gets around this. Running a simple VPN will not.

  • Re:Heh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PNutts ( 199112 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @10:02PM (#43134697)

    Correct. Their primary concern is to *not* have a functioning Internet.

  • Re:Heh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @10:21PM (#43134799) Homepage

    And don't miss the opportunity to sockify a whole tunnel of TCP connections, instead of socksifying programs, to use with your ssh -D connection. The tun2socks program does this, and can do UDP with a remote side helper program.

    They will have to shut off ssh to block it. They might, but that ends up breaking a lot more stuff and getting more of their population angry at the government.

  • by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @03:18AM (#43135811)

    Not just history, but current events. A combination of a bloody, eight-year war with Iraq and policies that encouraged large families have lead to a glut of young people; something like 2/3 of the population is ~30. That generation is not particularly religious (particularly not by the standards that most Americans use to hypocritically stereotype the Middle East), is very pro-Western and anti-isolationism, well-educated, and very aware of the world. The policies of the country, however, are dominated by a small, ultra-conservative minority of old assholes. Decades of turmoil and common sense drive smart, young people out of the country rather than driving them to stay and launch some sort of up-rising that may result in an even worse regime. They watched the "Arab Spring" and took away the lesson that the arabs didn't really improve their situation. Those that see the sanctions as the fault of their government's stubbornness want out, those that see them as the fault of the imperialist West don't; everyone agrees that the sanctions hit ordinary Iranians the hardest.

    When you see sweeping generalizations about intolerance, religious fundamentalism, and insane foreign policy, just remember that the Bush administration arrested and tortured people in secret prisons with no trials. Does that mean that all ~300,000,000 Americans supported that policy? Should the world now treat all Americans like paranoid war-mongers that embrace pre-emptive war and a police state? Was Bush v Gore definitive evidence that Americans can't hold fair elections? If you answered yes, then feel free to un-hypocritically pass the same sort of judgements against the entire population of another country with crazy political leaders. Otherwise, put yourself in the shoes of a 28-year-old with an advanced degree that is fluent in English and that has to use an "illegal" VPN to exercise your curiosity of the outside world--would contribute to society by risking everything to join a violent rebellion or by trying to get out and establish a career and citizenship in the West?

  • Want to fix the world? Kill the people behind the curtains watching and reporting.

    Hmmm...Pol Pot did as you suggest, so did Mao. When you attack the ideological infrastructure of the regime you are trying to overthrow, as you are suggesting, you leave a vacuum that has to be filled. If you can replace that ideological infrastructure with one more commensurate with your own, fine -- but you have to get your own in place and then protect it so that some other ideologue can't displace you by attacking you in the same way, which is where Pol Pot and Mao failed. The lesson to be learned from their failures? Control the sources of information about competing ideologies. Whacking ideological opponents was a viable strategy, back when suppressing competing ideas was merely a matter of killing the brains where those ideas resided. Technology (starting with writing, then the printing press, then radio and TV, and then the net) allowed ideas to slip from brain to brain faster than the regime could kill off the contaminated brains. Pol Pot killed teachers and parents (by the millions) and successfully inserted his own ideology into a new generation, but failed to keep competing ideologies out, resulting in his ultimate loss of control. Mao made the same mistake at first, but realized (too late, perhaps, but he did try to correct course) that keeping opposing ideologies out was impossible when you had over a billion vulnerable brains to protect. His course correction resulted in complete state control of information, culminating in the Great Firewall of China, which at least delayed the onset of ideological rot, which in theory would give time for the regime to devise a way to innoculate all those vulnerable brains. Iran is doing the exact same thing by clamping down on the sources of ideological rot. It remains to be seen whether or not regimes like Iran and North Korea can delay it long enough to survive, but I kinda doubt it, though ideologues in the US seem to have found a way that might work -- make it easier for your subjects to get the information you want them to have while simultaneously attacking the sources of information that oppose your ideology. Rupert Murdoch may be a multi-billionaire capitalist running dog in Mao's eyes, but he is Mao's spiritual heir none-the-less.

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