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[liberationtech] Tor: Increased Internet blocking in Iran

Collin Anderson collin at
Thu Jan 13 08:35:04 PST 2011

Here's an interesting article written in Farsi (translates well with Google
and the likes) on the establishment of a commission on censorship and the
popularity of circumvention tools within government circles.

High point: The site-blocked page is the fifth highest trafficked in Iran.

Also of note from the translation:

Websites filtering in filtering is done by committee. In addition to the
committee chairman, is composed of the following individuals: "Minister of
Education or representative, or representative Secretary of Communications
and Information Technology, Information Minister or representative, or
representative of the Justice Minister, Minister or representative of
Science and Technology, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance or
representative, the head of the Islamic Propaganda Organization, IRIB chief,
police chief, one expert in information and communication technologies to
select the House of Industries and Mines Commission, one member of the
Commission delegates to the Judicial and Legal Judicial Selection Commission
and the legal and parliamentary approval


On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 4:49 PM, <liberationtech at> wrote:

> The Great Potato Wall appears to be trying new things.  Recent traces
> do not show ssl throttling anymore.  There is possible ssl intercept
> and manipulation occurring.  There is definitely IP address blocking.
> Interestingly, https:// gmail and google search are working fine.
> Any idiot can block the public Tor Network, we've know this for ages.
> In fact, we told the world how to do it years ago at various
> conferences.  It took until late 2009 for China to lead the world in
> taking this step.  It seems Iran may be learning how to do this too.
> What's interesting is that our bridges are more affected than the public
> relay list [1].  Depending upon your level of paranoia, there could be
> two things going on:
> 1) The potato wall admins are testing technology to block the bridge
> relays, because they are not generally published the world over (like
> the public tor network relays are by design).  The admins feel they can
> block the public tor network easily, so test the difficult parts; or
> 2) The admins are purposely allowing the public tor network to be accessed
> so they can record which IP addresses in country are connecting to public
> tor relays.  One could then use this list of people in the future.
> In either case, Tor can use any HTTP, HTTPS, or SOCKS proxy as an access
> layer to connect to the public tor network [2].  Users in China are fond
> of using VPNs to get past the GFW and then use Tor so the VPN provider
> can't see what they're doing on the Internet.
> We're also working on hiding in the crowd of allowed traffic [3].
> The end goal is to help people, so we've suggested that people use tools
> that work right now to get access to the outside world.  Using tor over
> these tools will protect their privacy as well, see [2] again.
> Research continues.
> [1]
> versus
> [2]
> [3]
> --
> Andrew
> pgp key: 0x74ED336B
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