Home iran Tech Firm Censoring Iran’s Internet, Blames Outages on ‘Cyberattacks’

Tech Firm Censoring Iran’s Internet, Blames Outages on ‘Cyberattacks’

13
0

The CEO of the controversial cloud tech firm ArvanCloud says Iran is grappling with internet disruptions due to cyberattacks, a claim that skeptics argue masks the Iranian regime’s own role in internet censorship.

Known for managing Iran’s cloud services and a history of facilitating the regime in internet censorship, the firm has been sanctioned by the US.

Speaking about the continued internet outages plaguing the Iranian population recently, the firm’s CEO Pouya Pirhosseinloo appeared to shift the blame away from the state.

“Only the ministry of communications can comprehensively investigate the network, yet it seems that recent disruptions are due to widespread cyberattacks, with both the infrastructure and the ministry of communications failing to counter them effectively,” he said.

A recent report by the Tehran E-commerce Association, however, has suggested that the country’s President Ebrahim Raisi has a significant role in Internet censorship by blocking websites and apps.

ArvanCloud, which commands 49% of Iran’s cloud computing market, plays a pivotal role in hosting essential government websites, including those of the Presidency, IRNA news agency, and the Ministry of Culture.

The substantial control over Iran’s cloud services places ArvanCloud at the center of allegations that it assists the regime in restricting internet access to quash dissent and control information.

During the Women, Life, Freedom protests, which erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini in “morality police” custody in 2022, the Iranian government severely limited access to popular social media platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

These platforms are crucial for organizing protest activities. The government’s internet blocks during the protests hindered communication and economically impacted millions who rely on the digital platforms.

Pirhosseinloo’s recent statements have not specified the sources of the alleged cyberattacks, leading to skepticism about their veracity.

Critics view the claims as a convenient diversion from the government’s own actions—regularly implementing internet blackouts under the guise of national security, particularly during politically sensitive periods.

Last week, Iranian citizens shared voice messages with Iran International, voicing their frustrations and highlighting the significant impact of these disruptions.

According to a report by Filterbaan, an organization that monitors internet access in Iran, there have been substantial disruptions in access to various data centers across the country since last Sunday.

These actions, Filterbaan says, are part of a wider strategy to create a national information network that compels users to depend on domestic platforms and limits access to VPNs.

The disruptions come as Iran has recently faced significant international criticism for executing protesters and issuing death sentences, most notably to rapper Toomaj Salehi.

Despite facing sanctions, though it was recently removed from the EU sanctions list, the company remains a formidable force in Iran’s internet landscape.