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ibVPN reports Unfettered Access

ibVPN reports that access to Facebook and Twitter was opened on Tuesday this week for the first time in four years without a VPN. This free access to the social media sites was short-lived, however, and it now seems that access is not possible even with ibVPN. Apparently access was temporarily opened during the implementation of a new technology that may be blocking VPN services as well as various websites.

Unfettered Access

Journalists from Iran joyfully Tweeted that they were able to use the service without going through their VPN accounts. ibVPN was not able to confirm whether the free access was possible from all parts of the country. Some thought that it might have been done by accident. Many were waiting for official reports from the government on whether or not the social media sites Facebook and Twitter were going to be removed from the official list of blocked sites. Meantime, ibVPN said, access to other websites was still restricted.

Reporters in Tehran took a statement from Gen. Esmael Ahmadi Moghadam, the head of Iran’s security forces. He said that there has been no official decision on Facebook access, and that they were waiting for a decree from the Supreme Council for Cyberspace, responsible for making the decision. Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, Facebook users in Iran were periodically able to access the site without difficulty or the need for ibVPN software.

It has been four years since the government denied Iranians access to social media sites, during which many users relied on services like ibVPN for access. The decision was made following the anti-government protests that arose after the 2009 presidential elections. Facebook and Twitter were blocked because the government said they were used to organize such demonstrations. Now, even the users who could access the site via ibVPN are unable to do so. Hopes were high in Iran on Tuesday that steps were being taken to liberalize access to the internet. This is because the new administration led by President Hassan Rouhani had promised to do so. Previous administrations had tried to block VPN access, but failed.

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Premature Celebration

Some were skeptical about the open access to social media, but most were just enjoying the days of freedom after four years of restricted access. As it turns out, the two days of access was a technical failure, according to the Mehr news agency. It now appears that the government has found a way to block access to restricted sites even with the use of VPN technology. Some do not believe it was a glitch and are still that the incident is a sign that the president is making good on his promises to get rid of Internet censorship.

ibVPN states that they will look into it further to determine if the service is indeed unavailable. ibVPN is dedicated to free and open Internet, and they along with other top VPN providers will work to find solutions. For now, as President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and many other ministers continue to actively enjoy Facebook and Twitter, the rest of the country is in social media darkness.

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