Wikipedia block in Iran
On December 1, 2006, about 05:00 Iran Time, we noted that access to the English Wikipedia was blocked in most parts of Iran. This happened together with blocking some other websites, including Amazon, IMDB, and WordPress. This was fixed on December 3, about 18:00 Iran time.
Things we did
- We contacted some ISPs and told them about the problem. Many of them thought this was a mistake, but mentioned that they don't have access to the list of blocked websites, and the blocking is imposed on them by the software they had installed whose database in updated by the some governmental agencies.
- We contacted a few University professors in Sharif University of Technology who have connections to the people in charge of blocking websites. Some promised to help and mentioned that the people in charge of blocking generally have "a good will" and this should have been a mistake. Others suggested other ways to get the problem fixed.
- We created an A3-sized poster and started very small-sized campaigns raising awareness about the issue in Sharif University of Technology, but avoiding crowds.
- We also started creating hand-out brochures, but fortunately this was not necessary and during their preparation we found that the English Wikipedia is unblocked.
We wish to thank several people who helped us in raising awareness in the matter, ranging from anonymous support people in the ISPs, to university professors and students who mentioned the issue in their classrooms, and specially people who spent their time and money to help the cause in these three days.
We like to think that our efforts have helped in fixing the problem, but as the process is not transparent, we don't even know what happened!
It should be noted that protests and gatherings should be avoided for such matters. It would be appreciated if people do not involve in any kind of activity that may be considered controversial by anybody, or gather crowds. Instead, we think one should try to make everyone understand that blocking such websites is very bad for scientific research and education.