Use of Tor in Iran Is at an All-Time High Amid Political Struggles

More and more consumers need to start taking their privacy seriously. Especially when it comes to using the internet, there’s no reason to expose sensitive and personal information to third parties. With the use of VPNs and Tor on the rise, an interesting trend is created. Especially in Iran, reliance on Tor is skyrocketing as we speak. Given the political turmoil in that part of the world, this is no real surprise.

Iran Starts Flocking to Tor for Political Reasons

There are many reasons why people would start using Tor or a VPN connection to mask their online activity. While some people may think this always has to do with illegal activity, that is far from the case. In fact, the number-one reason for using such tools is simply to ensure privacy for all online activities and keep information away from prying eyes such as the government and internet service providers. After all, we should never give up such information either willingly or unwillingly.

At the same time, governments all over the world are cracking down on such tools. Especially in countries with oppressive regimes, there is a growing concern over the use of Tor and VPN connections. After all, such governments don’t want their residents to have any freedom of speech whatsoever, even though it is a basic human right in the eyes of most internet users. Restricting access to specific websites and platform has become the new normal in some places. China is a good example of such political interference.

It seems things are slowly evolving in this direction in Iran as well. More specifically, the public has protested against some decisions made by their country’s government in recent months. When such turmoil comes to light, the first step oppressive governments tend to take is ensuring no one can voice any public concerns over the situation. That often involves restricting access to social media and other platforms on which anyone can share their opinions on these sensitive topics.  

However, restricting access to platforms such as Instagram, Telegram, and a few others is almost never the answer (though one would expect the Iranian government to know better by now). Furthermore, the government started blocking access to Tor in August 2016, even though its efforts seem to have been less successful than originally anticipated. In fact, they have backfired.

Whereas the number of people connecting to Tor was relatively low in December 2016, it increased significantly starting in March 2017. A spike appeared on the charts in December 2017, and the current protests will only make more people flock to tools such as Tor. That is only normal, as people want to access the blocked social networks first and foremost.

Whether or not we will see a further increase in Tor usage across Iran remains to be seen. It is evident the government will not be too pleased with the way things are unfolding right now, especially considering that it tried to block Tor in the past without much success. It seems unlikely that it will crack down on this tool any further, although anything is possible at this point. Even so, there is still the option to connect through a bridge if needed, which would bypass most restrictions.