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Internet shutdown looms as Iran protests continue

Several sources, including Meta and a network intelligence company, claim that the Iran government is disrupting internet connections as protests rage.

The Iran protests began following the death of a young woman in the custody of the country’s morality police. It had started with women burning their headscarves in protest of the hijab, and videos surfaced online. Since then, people have taken to the streets.

Reuters reported that eight lives had been lost (the death toll was correct when this article was originally published).

Meanwhile, amidst the commotion, it appears that the authorities are restricting internet access in Iran. Quoting Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Kentik, Inc., a network intelligence company, Gadgets 360 said that mobile data was being blocked on Wednesday. Meta, which owns Facebook, also weighed in, claiming that it was aware of Iranians being denied access to the internet.

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Before now, social media forums like Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube are blocked in the country. However, the country’s top officials have public accounts, which they continue to operate. Many Iranians are limited to using VPNs to bypass the ban, but even that would not get them past mobile data and general internet blockage.

Instagram and WhatsApp are still allowed in the country, but industry analysts said even those were seeing lesser traffic.

In a cryptic statement before the internet disruption began rolling out, Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Isa Zarepour had said that some internet restrictions might be put in place due to security issues.

Likely, Zarepour was hinting at the fact that some hacking groups could take advantage of the ongoing crisis to attack businesses. Although, it could also be to stop the disturbing images from spreading from the region to the rest of the world.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.