In the face of the ongoing confrontation between Iran and the West, especially over the Middle East nation's plans to block the Strait of Hormuz oil route, the Ahmadinejad regime is planning to snap the internet connectivity in the country in a bid to tackle any sort of information campaign that may lead to opinion formation against the government.
According to latest reports, Iran is planning to restructure its internet connectivity infrastructure by bifurcating access to "national internet" from the local intranet for domestic use. This move also aims at preventing national level security hacks from breaching the internal closed system.
According to the Washington Times, Iran has adopted an electronic surveillance system to monitor the communications of rebels and activists over the internet. Irantelecom then intercepts those web communications and archives them for the Iranian government.
It may be noted that Iran recorded the second highest percentage of internet usage in the Middle East after Israel at the start of this century. It had 20 million people using the internet.
However, over a time the oppressive regime took over the reins of a much stable conservative government. The autocratic rulers of Iran faced a massive threat from the regime opponents who took to online blogging, tweeting and sharing rebellious ideas over social-networking platforms.
Consequently, the activists and revolutionists had to face severe jail terms, harassment and abuse. In November 2006, Iran infamously attained the label - "enemies of the internet" by activist group Reporters Without Borders.
The future of Internet in Iran and other Arab countries looks bleak and uncertain as the oppressive governments have resorted to large scale censorship of sites and ISP suspensions. According to figures in 2008, Iran has blocked about five million websites, which were perceived to be immoral and anti-social.
Besides, the Iranian government has also censored local Persian-language sites and other English sites, including New York Times and Facebook. Today, Iran happens to have made the highest Internet censorship in the world barring China.
Do Iranians have options to overcome the Internet service blockages?
Yes, those who have faced issues with blocked sites and clamped down Internet connections may find a new ray of hope with emerging net activist groups like Telecomix.
Telecomix is a decentralised and independent DNS service provider with the goal of providing access to censored sites while also bypassing Internet access restrictions. A message on the DNS service provider's website says, "Telecomix works for internauts anywhere in the network, and we would like to give you another service that has no censorship filters and provides some extra cool Top Level Domains."
The DNS service is completely free of cost. The non-profit organization further adds, "Telecomix believes in the freedom of all kinds of data. Censorship on a DNS level only belong in authoritarian regimes that do not trust people to communicate freely. Blocking of complete websites is contrary to the fundamental right to freedom of speech as enshrined in various legislative instruments, including the European Convention on Human Rights."
The complete guide to configuring and setting up of the DNS server is available on the site: http://dns.telecomix.org/
To clarify any doubt or to sort out technical issues, one may contact the 24-hour technical support on chat.telecomix.org. The support team is very helpful and one can log on to their chat server after adding their site to the browser's exception list.