Over the past two weeks, the internet has been the site of an intensified battle between Iranian internet users and Iran's Filtering Committee (IFC). It began when secure access to Google search and Gmail was blocked, provoking a media storm with western media like Ars Technica
and the Guardian
quick to report. The filtering was removed after a week and Iranians are now able to access
their Google accounts and search securely with Google.
Then, on October 4, 2012, the IFC began preventing files hosted on servers outside Iran from entering the country by blocking specific file extensions. At the time of writing, this policy applies to all MP3, MP4, AVI and SWF files. This kind of filtering was used after the controversial presidential elections of 2009, amidst harsh crackdowns on freedom of information, and coincides with Iran's current economic crisis and the ensuing protests.
Twitter user Arash Zad
was one of the first to break the news: "They've been blocked in Iran. MP3s and SWF files are only available if hosted inside Iran".