State of Freegate in Iran

State of Freegate in Iran

Currently VPNs are one of the safest methods of evading censorship. HMA has hundreds of exit nodes/countries and many ways of accessing their servers.

There’s finally confirmation: Freegate has cut Iran’s access by 75%. For over a week now we’ve been trying to figure out what exactly happened to Freegate’s ability to provide Iranians with unfilitered Internet access, but now there’s an answer.

It’s public knowledge that Freegate was founded to help the Chinese get around the ‘Great Firewall’. From the Wikipedia page:

Freegate is software that enables internet users from mainland China, Iran, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and UAE, among others, to view websites blocked by their governments. The program takes advantage of a range of open proxies, which allow users to penetrate firewalls used to block web sites. Developer Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT) estimates Freegate has 200,000 users.

I’m not sure when that “200,000 users” is from, but I can tell you that the number of users in Iran was much higher than that. Since Freegate received its last major funding, it’s pretty much been up to volunteers and (I can only assume) donated/university bandwidth. This can only get a project so far. Once the university servers have been blocked or the capacity has been reached, the entire Freegate project — as far as Iran is concerned — becomes either slow or inaccessible.

After the election in Iran came down, they put their resources behind the people but were quickly hit with the realities of technical limitations. Bandwidth, servers, everything are expensive: especially when one is providing a method for getting around a government like the one in power in Iran.

Update: Private individuals cannot run Freegate “nodes” or servers as the source code nor binary for the server are available. Freegate runs all their “nodes” internally, which is a smart move given their objectives.

Posted under Iran, Technology by