You open the Instagram application, the “home” page is either empty, or does not show any photos or videos. You close the application, open it again, it doesn’t help. You turn on the filter breaker, luckily the VPN will connect. You go to Instagram again, it comes up slower than before and the page is still blank. you get angry You have spent a few minutes for a short review of a social network and finally, even with the filter breaker on or off, you could not open a few stories and see a post.
You skip checking Instagram and are so angry that you turn off the internet altogether and leave your phone in a corner. This story is not just for Instagram. Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., which have been filtered for years. Downloading and uploading a photo on WhatsApp is also difficult. Safe Search also complicates searching on Google.
Low speed, disruption, failure of filter breakers, treating all users as children, and several technical solutions to manipulate the Internet and different platforms have all made the users tired and hard to bear this unremarkable Internet, so some people prefer to stop using the Internet. or use it less.
On the other hand, the increase in the price of internet packages and the removal of cost-effective packages is another reason that has forced some users to downplay the presence of the internet in their lifestyle or to forget its use.
Restricting Internet access does not end in one or two ways. From the beginning of the 80s, when filtering sites was put on the agenda for the first time with the issuance of the “General Policies of Computer Information Networks” until today, various methods have been applied so that users do not have access to any content and platform. Practices that seem to be getting more sophisticated these days and applying constraints in a variety of ways.
filtering; Option always on the table
For years, Internet users in Iran have been faced with a page of links in their web browsing and internet searches, or they are forced to use a VPN to use some social networks.
Although, in the last 20 years, filtering has been the most popular and common method of removing content or platforms from access, and for various reasons and excuses, it has been used as the first option to apply control and restrictions to the Internet, but today it is no longer the only method to reduce the access of users.
It seems that filtering has become one of the ways of limiting with the ideas that can be summarized as “security plan”. In the heart of this plan, there are other ways to remove the Internet and control it as much as possible, which makes Internet users in Iran afraid of its approval and implementation.
protection; Apply extensive restrictions to the Internet
Although the protection plan made a lot of news in the past years, especially in 1400, and created objections and protests among users, it was not approved and did not become a law. The latest news related to the protection plan also indicates that the research center of the parliament has called this plan contrary to the constitution and has flaws and has rejected its generalities.
However, the shadow of the security plan is still felt and with the occurrence of any disruption in the Internet, the fear of protecting the Internet and its users is intensified. In recent months, with the rise of disruptions on the Internet, these concerns have reached such an extent that some people are talking about the implementation of this plan.
Speculations indicate that the protection plan is being implemented without being approved by the parliament and becoming a law, and the occurrence of technical problems, slow down of the internet, reduction of the traffic consumed by some platforms and the need to use the internet for some users while using others. Platforms (such as Instagram) and… are examples of the silent implementation of this plan.
Thus, it seems that the various methods of reducing Internet access, which were proposed in the protection plan, have caused the creation of restrictions for other users not to be limited to a direct and obvious method called filtering, but to have less known and subtle tricks and solutions that The way to bypass them is more difficult and complicated.
Limitation methods have proliferated
In general, the lesser-known, subtle and sophisticated methods of blocking the Internet cannot be considered new methods; Many of these methods have already been applied in Iran and it has been possible to use them in the world. However, these methods have recently been replaced by tangible and direct methods of removing the Internet and are used more than in the past.
The difference between this method of changing the audience’s access to the Internet and plans similar to protection is that it does not lead to the complete destruction of the global Internet, but rather, using different solutions, it classifies the Internet and excludes it from the equal and equal accessibility of the general public. On the one hand, this stratification occurs at the level of the existing economic classes in the society and is applied among different jobs, and on the other hand, by applying changes at the technical level, the type and extent of Internet accessibility are completely transformed.
Predictions indicate that the result of this restriction and blocking is to reach a model of the Internet similar to the network that exists in China, which is offered and used to users with special and unique coordinates and features.
Technical solutions to disable the Internet
These technical methods have become more and more numerous and include a wide range of restrictions, from domain hijacking (DNS Hijacking) to disrupting encrypted communications and blocking access to an address or content.
According to experts, these methods of manipulation have been carried out in different ways on the Internet in recent months, and these changes have caused many disturbances in Internet access, which has led to a decrease in the quality and speed of the Internet.
One of the experts in the field of information technology in a conversation with a news site Selection It has pointed out some of these disruptive practices, particularly on Instagram. He has explained the mechanism of applying these access limiting methods as follows:
“Now what they are doing to create blockages is very extensive. According to reports, Ooni has completely closed HTTP3. Regarding DNS over HTPS, they officially announced that we do not provide this service in Iran; Because they have two goals: First, to hijack DNS, in the sense that when you enter the address of a site, they will direct you to the site they want, not the site associated with that address. Another is the issue of filtering; “When you try to bring up a filtered address, they don’t let you find the address of that site at all.”
Of course, these are not all the technical solutions available and used to impose restrictions; Actions such as the forced activation of Google’s Safe Search feature, which childishly changes the content of all users and provides them with content that has passed the filter, is also an example of exercising control over the Internet space and making it inaccessible in a way. it.
Although this feature has been activated in other countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Indonesia, the style and context of its activation in none of the countries has been similar to Iran; Because in the mentioned countries, this feature did not happen by hijacking the domain and it is related to the relationship of these countries with Google.
All these manipulations, along with limiting and blocking the Internet, lead to jeopardizing secure communications, and this is a challenge that the creators of these disturbances do not pay attention to or do not care about the security consequences of these restrictions.
Class internet is coming?
To all the mentioned methods, the problem of class internet is also added, through which the access to the internet for certain strata and classes is distinguished from others. It is this distinction that ultimately leads to social and digital discrimination.
Regardless of creating discrimination, removing the filter for certain classes with the argument that certain jobs such as doctors and journalists need unlimited access to information provides the grounds for applying filtering to other classes. In fact, one of the criticisms of Internet filtering is that it blocks and limits access to useful information.
In response to this criticism, the government proposes a solution such as specializing the Internet for certain groups, such as university professors, journalists, and doctors, which was already proposed in the 12th government with the idea of ”unmatched filtering”. In this way, in addition to the fact that a limited group is separated from the general public, the excuse of not having access to useful information is also removed. This issue gives a strong excuse to the Internet restrictors to apply filtering to the majority of the population.
Considering the fact that Zarepour, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, talks about the need to remove the filter for certain classes or the specialization of the Internet, it seems that the idea of class Internet is being pursued more seriously these days than before.
Issues such as the launch of the internet for children and teenagers, which according to the minister, there is not much time left until its unveiling, are also included under the issue of class internet, which serves the same purpose regardless of whether this action is right or wrong.
The idea of class internet can also be applied at the economic level and thus by increasing the price of the internet tariff, this global network will be out of the reach of certain economic classes. An idea that happened to be proposed recently and emphasized by the Minister of Communications to the head of the regulator and the CEOs of the operators.
Making the internet tariff more expensive
One of the most important points of discussion of the speakers present at the opening ceremony of the projects of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was the issue of increasing the tariff of mobile internet packages, which was first raised by Sadegh Abbasi Shahkoh, the head of the Regulatory and Radio Communications Organization. He considered the country’s mobile network to be at a critical point and said that there is no other way to change this situation except to increase tariffs.
In the same meeting, Bijan Abbasi Arend, the CEO of Irancell Company, also emphasized the need to reform the tariff system for fixed and mobile internet and called the development of internet quality dependent on more investment and considered that its realization requires increasing the income of operators.
Considering Zarepour’s clear criticism of the former Minister of Communications in applying the policy of not changing the price of Internet tariffs, it seems that the Ministry of Communications has no objection to the increase in the price of Internet packages. In this ceremony, Zarepour considered tariff suppression as one of the actions of the Ministry of Communications of the 12th government, which has led to the lack of development and improvement of the country’s Internet infrastructure and its backwardness.
Based on these issues, it can be concluded that the increase of the Internet tariff is considered and placed on the agenda of the trustees of this area. This is despite the fact that not much time has passed since the increase in the price of internet packages. It was at the beginning of this year that internet packages became more expensive and at the same time it caused controversy.
It was from the end of 1400 that the whispers of an increase in the price of Internet tariffs intensified, and it was in April 1401 that this increase happened. The increase in the price of the Internet, the decrease in the volume of affordable packages, etc. caused protests by subscribers and operators.
This price increase, which according to some opponents was illegally applied and doubled the price of some packages, was further announced that it was applied with the approval of the Radio Communications Regulatory Organization. At the same time, Sadegh Abbasi Shahkoh, the head of this organization, explained about this price increase as follows:
According to our investigations, considering that the tariff has increased in some fixed internet operators and has not changed in others, this increase was about 60% on average. In mobile internet, according to the number of users of internet packages, the weight of each package will be determined, the tariff increase in this sector was between 20 and 25 percent.
Although the improvement of internet quality was announced as the reason for this price increase, but the investigation of the internet situation from April to mid-September 1401 not only shows no sign of better quality, but also shows more disruptions and lower speed and quality.
This is despite the fact that in April of this year, following the protests against the increase in the rate of Internet packages, the Minister of Communications announced that “we are against increasing the tariff without increasing the quality.” But now, after the increase in the price of the Internet did not have any effect on improving the quality and speed, once again Zarepour emphasizes the need to increase the price and introduces this issue as the only solution to the development of the Internet infrastructure.
However, the increase in the price of the Internet has no result other than its removal from the reach of some classes and weak economic strata. People who are facing various economic challenges today, as the Internet becomes more expensive, they inevitably remove the purchase of Internet packages from their current shopping carts, and thus, the Internet is removed from their lifestyle.
In this way, the Ministry of Communications and the related groups reduce the number of Internet users in the country, either intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, increasing internet tariffs has become one of the solutions that can easily remove the internet from people’s reach.