How do Iranians experience the Internet? Various hurdles and risks exist for Iranians and including outside actors like American technology companies. This talk will assess the state of the Internet in Iran, discuss things like the threats of hacking from the Iranian cyber army; how the government are arresting Iranians for their online activities; the most recent policies and laws for censorship, surveillance and encryption; and the policies and relationships of foreign technology companies like Apple, Twitter and Telegram with Iran, and the ways they are affecting the everyday lives of Iranians. This talk will effectively map out how the Internet continues to be a tight and controlled space in Iran, and what efforts are being done and can be done to make the Iranian Internet a more accessible and secure space.
Break down of the talk:
What threats exist for Iranians online? A discussion of the various bodies that police the Internet in Iran will be discussed, including the Iranian Cyber Police (FATA), Gerdab (the Revolutionary Guards Cyber Police), and the loosely affiliated government network of the Iranian Cyber Army, and how they have been tracking, arresting, and hacking into the online activities of various Iranians inside and outside of the country.
Government Internet policies The talk will briefly overview the quagmire that is Internet policy and law, including the bodies that regulate the Internet, such as the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, and various laws such as the Cyber Crimes Laws, the censorship of various encryption tools, new policies on censorship and data collection, and the Internet policies under the new Minister of ICT, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, a former member of the Ministry of Intelligence and architect of Iran’s online surveillance infrastructure.
Foreign Technology Companies Apple is not officially present in Iran, and does not want to get involved in financial transactions with Iranian banks. As a result, it’s been removing the applications of Iranians off it’s app store, to the detriment of all lot of Internet services Iranians with iPhones can access. Telegram has long been rumoured to be cooperating with the Iranian government. This past year they moved their CDN servers inside Iran, citing concerns for the security of Telegram data from the Iranian government. Telegram is one of the only social media platforms not censored in Iran, but now Iran’s hardline politicians are threatening to sue Pavel Durov. Additionally, the new Minister of ICT has said they will be engaging Twitter in negotiations to unfilter the platform in Iran. Twitter is refusing to comment on whether they are engaging or will work with the government. This portion of the talk will try to understand the dangers and responsibilities companies have to keeping the Internet safe and accessible to Iranians.