Tightening the Net: Iran One Year on From the Mahsa Jhina Amini Uprising

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September 15, 2023

Since September 2022, protest-related digital repression has been facilitated by a number of mechanisms to curb the use of the internet. One of these methods has been a central tenet of the User Protection Bill, which is designed to disable the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or proxies to circumvent regime censorship. At the time of writing, the difficulties in accessing usable VPNs remains a major hurdle to Iranians trying to access the internet from Iran. 

The start of this uprising saw the censorship of Instagram and WhatsApp in September 2022 along with many other foreign platforms. While the Apple App Store was censored and eventually reopened, the Google Play Store remains blocked to this day. Google’s Android operating system takes up a share of 90% of mobile users in Iran. The censorship of this app store has added an additional hurdle for acquiring safe and secure VPNs for the majority of Iranians trying to access the internet in Iran. 

VIA Article 19