Ghandchiقندچي How to Neutralize IRI Filtering-Part 2

Sam Ghandchi

Persian Version


More than a year ago I wrote the first part of this article [] which was a sequel to what I had written in the previous years making some suggestions on how to neutralize Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI)’ s filtering of Internet web sites.  I further discussed the topic in an interview [].


At the time, the scope of IRI filtering was not as extensive as it is today, when by IRI’s own admission, it is filtering over 10 million web sites [].  IRI is working round the clock to filter the latest public proxy sites as soon as they are announced [], thus blocking the main alternate route of Iranian web users to freely access the Internet. 


My discussion here will be limited to technical solutions that one can use to counter IRI’s blocking of the sites and I will limit myself to solutions that I have not discussed previously.  I will not repeat my suggestion of setting up private proxies outside Iran for friends living inside Iran, or solutions such as programs like TOR [] that one can install on a PC for accessing filtered sites, or using the option of free email of AOL [] and then  the free download of America Online software to freely access filtered Internet sites from within AOL, or my suggestions of creating Podcasting networks and the like for distributing voice and video content. Also VPN solutions are not only too complex but are too expensive for any content provider to offer for thousands of visitors and Citrix tunneling although robust and easy to use but are still too expensive to offer for thousands of users.


Moreover, my main proposal in the first part of this article where I suggested an add-on to the browser, whether as a plug-in or as an added service by the browser-makers, to provide proxy access with randomized IP address, has still not been fully built by any vendor.  Nonetheless something close to the first approach has been developed by SecureAC [] although their business focus is less on what we can say Iranian users could use today, but they seem to have the technology to provide it.  And something close to the second approach has been done by a browser maker called Maxton [], which has had a lot of success among the Internet users in China.  Thus I will not discuss any of these solutions in this article.




I think a new way to combat filtering is by starting and joining more and more port-agile Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks.  Such networks can help to create an alternative infrastructure to access the Internet by popularizing a new file-sharing scheme for the Internet users.  And those who would like to develop IP tunneling for P2P can IIRC can see what is out there for those networks because most of the P2P protocols are open source.  And they can plan to provide encrypted solutions for the point of entry to the network as needed.


Here I should emphasize that proposed new file sharing infrastructure for content distribution and access is a very beneficial investment for any Internet user, and not just for the purpose of viewing filtered Internet sites, and I believe this will be more and more the direction all Internet users will have to move, regardless of any benefit this approach may provide to bypass filtering or not.


In fact, using such a file sharing structure is needed because people more and more watch TV and listen to radio on the Internet and they move on to use programs and data that require huge disk space and high powered server PCs to process and all that can be only be cheaply accessible by P2P network users.


Just in May this year, Warner Brothers announced a P2P service as their solution for delivering DVD quality TV content to their customers.  Please visit BitTorrent's own site and check out some of the video clips that they are rendering and see how high quality network delivery the offerings are.


To use P2P networks for content distribution, current solutions are not limited to the above.  There are many solutions including “eDonkey,” and “Gnutella” to name a few among the major players in that space.


These solutions work with various platforms and the Windows users, who are the bulk of the Iranian Internet user, report excellent experience using P2P solutions. 


Hoping for a day to live in an Iran with no censorship,



Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher


October 10, 2006



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