The Iranian government has worked out a way to cut off those people who used VPNs to bypass the countries ludicrous censorship laws.
Many Iranians use proxy servers over virtual private networks to circumvent government restrictions and mask their activities. Officials claim they have blocked use of the “illegal” tool by closing down “illegal VPN ports” in the country.
Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, the head of parliament’s information and communications technology committee, told Reuters: “Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used.”
It is not clear how much of this is possible as we suspect that there will be opposition groups that will work their way around any technology that the Iranians can throw at them. What is more likely is that the control of VPNs has less to do with controlling dissidents but more about forcing companies to buy government backed products.
Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace is planning to flog “official” and “legal” VPN services to companies and corporations that needed them for security.
Of course this means that all corporations will have to run their businesses through government servers which will make them a lot easier to spy on.
Council Secretary Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi told the Tehran Chronicle last month that by launching this program, the Iranian government can “prosecute” users who are violating state laws and the Internet Filtering Committee can take offenders to national courts.
The government probably wants all its plans in place before June when there is going to be a presidential election. It is expected that the government will try to switch off the Internet to stop people complaining about the status quo and organising opposition.