Iran Disrupts Internet as Elections Loom

Authorities take early steps to prevent protests, say experts
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2012 10:25 AM CST
Iran Disrupts Internet as Elections Loom
In this June 15, 2009 file photo, a demonstrator wears a mask in the party's color of green, as hundreds of thousands of supporters of leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi turn out to protest the result of the election at a mass rally in Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran, Iran.   (Photo by Ben Curtis)

With parliamentary elections looming in Iran next month, authorities are ramping up censorship of the opposition, disrupting much of the country's Internet in the process, reports Reuters. Millions are having trouble accessing their email and social networking sites, which played an important role in the protests that followed the dubious presidential election of 2009.

The March 2 elections will be the first national elections since that presidential election. "The government is testing different tools," said one expert. "They might have wanted to see the public reaction." Tehran, however, is denying any role in the online disruptions, which appear to be targeting international websites that use encryption, such as Secure Sockets Layer protocol. "We have never considered Google as appropriate to serve Iranian users, because Google is at the service of the CIA," says one member of Iran's Internet censorship committee. (Read more Iran stories.)

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