It's no secret that the Iranian government has a bit of an uncomfortable relationship with the internet. First of all, it's trying to build its own
internet, at which point it supposedly would like to block out that "other" internet completely. It's also pretty aggressive
in censoring various sites it doesn't like. Over the past few days, it's apparently gone a step further. While there were plenty of reports about it blocking YouTube, someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent over this story, saying that Iran's Filtering Committee (IFC) has started blocking all kinds of audio-visual files
, based on filetype:
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.
Apparently, those blocks do not apply to those files hosted within the country -- just those from foreign sites. Still, that's a pretty extreme move: blocking all of those files takes away a significant part of the audio-visual part of the web. The article highlights a number of Iranians complaining on Twitter about how these blocks are having a severe negative impact on what they do. Still, it's yet another warning for what happens when a government can aggressively filter the internet in extreme ways.