Access to services like email and social media is limited in Iran. In recent days, American companies say that Iranian traffic on their services has dropped dramatically, which raises concerns about a web restriction by the local government, according to Reuters.
The blockade, which began on Friday (09/02), affected all sites outside Iran that use the SSL protocol to encrypt the data. Google, which uses SSL in Gmail, said the email system had a 95% drop in hits on Ir over the weekend. On Monday (13/02), some Iranian bloggers reported the return of normal access.
According to Hamed Behvaran, of the Voice of America organization of the United States government, the blockade was part of tests by the Iranian government. “The government is testing different tools. They may intend to see the reaction of the public,” he said. Iranian websites that use the SSL protocol remained available during the block.
Iranian officials say they are developing a new national system for the internet and that they do not intend to block all connections outside of Iran. This new network can help the government to prevent attacks or spying attempts from other countries, in addition to tracking the domestic activity.
Ir has a very sophisticated internet infrastructure for controlling web content. During political protests in the past, the government reduced the bandwidth to make it difficult to post videos on the internet.