Introducing ‘Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran’

//Check out the latest report from Small Media, “Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran.” This project was undertaken with support from the Internet Policy ObservatoryClick here to view the full report.

We’re very excited to present our new report, ‘Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran’, which explores the Islamic Republic’s participation in the global conversation on internet governance.

Our report offers a comprehensive overview of Iran’s engagements with internet governance issues by tracking Iran’s public statements at internet governance forums, studying its delegations to international events, and comparing its international policy stances against its domestic practices.

The report also examines the Iranian public’s engagement with internet governance issues, and the state of multistakeholderism in Iran. The report achieves this by monitoring Iranian press coverage of internet governance debates and appraising Iran’s emerging domestic multistakeholder initiatives.

Here are some of our key findings:

Iran’s primary objective has been to challenge existing internet governance structures, most notably the United States’ privileged position vis-à-vis the IANA and ICANN

Iran has achieved some notable political victories in its campaign against the internet governance status quo. But its victories have ultimately proven hollow, and have failed to secure widespread international backing for Iran’s position.

Secondary objectives have included international development and expansion of filtering capabilities

Iran has consistently stressed its dedication to the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, with the Khatami, Ahmadinejad and Rouhani administrations each clearly advocating for the expansion of internet access in Iran, including ambitious initiatives in rural regions…

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Internet Censorship: A Game of Cat and Mouse

In light of Google Ideas’ uProxy tool announcement, Annenberg-Oxford 2013 alumnus Temitope Lawal reviews governments’ employment of censorship and surveillance online, and the growing efforts by internet users to circumvent these restrictions to fulfill their right to freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy.

Recently, Google Ideas announced that it developed a tool called uProxy, a peer-to-peer service that allows people living under controlling regimes to bypass government censorship and surveillance software by establishing internet connections with trusted persons living in open internet states. Currently, more than 25 countries, notably China, Iran and Syria, have institutionalised different types of internet controls to restrict online speech and information access. In Iran, for example, foreign media sites are often blocked, redirected or hijacked.[i] Even with existing circumvention tools, sites such as Voice of America and Kaleme cannot be accessed within the country. China’s highly sophisticated filtering technologies, collectively known as the Great Firewall of China, also enable the practice of blocking foreign websites, blogs and social media platforms. Meanwhile the Turkish government continues to actively monitor and filter content posted on Twitter since anti-government protests in June.

Unlike other circumvention technologies, such as Ultrasurf, Tor and Phiphon, uProxy users selectively share their internet connection with trusted friends. The extension will allow two people who know each other, and are already in touch via chat or email platforms, to share their connection in a way that resembles a virtual private network (VPN). A user in Syria, for example, could…

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