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[liberationtech] New report on Iranian attitudes to privacy online

Amin Sabeti aminsabeti at
Wed Sep 16 08:08:22 PDT 2015

Hi all,

We have just published a report
Iranian attitudes towards online privacy. This report offers an
unprecedented look at how Iranians think about privacy online.

The August 2015 Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy (IIIP) report
presents the results of a privacy survey distributed to a mailing list of
more than 100,000 Iranian internet users, in order to paint a picture of
their attitudes towards privacy and gain insights into their online
security practices.

Much has been written about European and American attitudes toward internet
privacy, but as far as we can tell, this is the first English-language
research project that addresses Iranian perceptions of the topic.

“Whatever analytical insights we in the West have acquired while thinking
> about the Internet in the democratic context are rarely invoked when we
> look at authoritarian states.”
> - Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion

After receiving more than 2,000 responses, an initial picture of Iranian
attitudes to privacy has started to emerge. Here are some of our key


   A decisive majority of respondents take few steps to protect their
   privacy, but conceded they would like to do more.

   Most respondents reported a disillusionment with the state of life in
   Iran generally, and dissatisfaction with the government in particular.

   Respondents most strongly associated the notion of privacy with

   When it comes to privacy protections, Iranian social networks are the
   least trusted media, while text and instant messaging were also viewed with

The sensitive nature of Internet policy in Iran makes it extremely
difficult to conduct survey research on the topic. While our mailing list
gave us access to a large number of Iranian internet users, we cannot
assume our sample is representative of the entire population. Still, the
way Iranians view privacy online remain an understudied but important
topic. We hope our initial foray into the field will be supplemented by
further research.


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