The Iranian government, along with Iranian universities, is spending $36 million to develop a new technology called “smart filtering” which will let them strengthen internet censorship capabilities. This massive collective effort has a goal of completely, selectively, and secretly blocking content or specific applications instead of shutting an entire website down. It’s a move away from completely blocking a site–but perhaps a more effective way to control users and their perceptions of censorship.
The initiative was announced by Deputy of Communications and Information Technology Minister Ali Asghar Amidian. It sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s stance on internet freedom, outlining the growing concern in Iran to control the massive growth of the internet in the country, and the information that follows. However, this smart filtering technology is thought to be long overdue by supporters of censorship in Iran.
Many companies are angry at new promising encrypted technologies like Telegram that give control to users instead of the government. The acting director of the Telecommunications Company of Iran argued while talking to Citna (an Iranian news agency) that technologies like Telegram actively affect state television and their revenue. In the interview, he explained how the average Iranian spends two hours a day on Telegram–which is time away from the television. However, this comparison seems flawed, since Telegram is a messaging service, not a TV application.
China has been the principal supplier to Iran for Internet censorship tools. As you’ve seen there, they are also improving and controlling their technologies to limit a user’s control to the Internet. Before long, the government hopes that the Internet in these regulated countries will be an entirely different beast altogether–a chained beast, a subdued less powerful beast (at least for the average Internet user–not the government).
However, while China has been largely successful in pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into their unacknowledged firewall, users in China still can get access to content with a VPN. Similarly, in Iran, it will be very hard to enact a smart filter that is effective and worth the cost. The main target of this collective effort is the applications that are based outside of the country, like Telegram, but these servers are hosted outside of Iran and encrypted which makes smart filtering useless. Technologies like VPN are one such example.
TorGuard VPN is extremely useful in heavily censored countries like China and Iran with its Stealth Proxy and VPN technology that obfuscates and scrambles your session so web browsing will look like regular Internet traffic. High speeds, 256-bit encryption, and Stealth VPN tech ensure that your internet will not only be uncensored, but it will be uncrackable, untraceable, and unfiltered.
With TorGuard VPN, you can make sure that your Internet won’t be placed on a “smart filter” anywhere in the world.