How Millions of Iranians Are Evading the Internet Censors

When governments block the internet, citizens find ways around it. And with Telegram perhaps the most important social network in Iran, Iranians are turning to software like Lantern and Psiphon to get around the recent ban on it.

Iran moved to block Telegram in late December. In response, Iranians are flocking to a number of popular so-called circumvention tools. Downloads of such tools surged after the government move, according to data gathered by ASL19, a Toronto-based research and tech lab that helps people in Iran access information.
“When Telegram got blocked, we got a big push,” said Michael Hull, co-founder of Psiphon Inc., a Toronto-based firm that makes one such app. Psiphon said the number of unique users a day in Iran jumped from about 3 million to more than 10 million on Jan. 1 and 2, amid the protests, and remains around 8 million.
“When governments do this stuff, they are our best marketing tool,” he said.


Want to receive more content like this in your inbox?