403 Forbidden: A Hands on Experience of the Iranian Internet
Internet filtering in Iran is both arbitrary and targeted. Censorship is designed to make you feel insecure. Sometimes websites that you would assume are blocked are open, and some of the most mundane are blocked. On the other hand, severe crackdowns have left bloggers in solitary confinement in Iranian prisons. This is a participatory exploration of the Iranian internet and everything that is complex about it.
Maybe you saw Maral Pourkazemi's infographic "The Iranian Internet" at re:publica 12. Well, Small Media's the lucky organisation that snapped her up after she graduated. Now, we've added her data visualisation expertise to our in house research team and we are experimenting with sharing information through participation and exploration. Last year, we held an event in our office called "403 Forbidden", and invited a select audience (we had the Guardian, Fox News, BBC, the Foreign Office and other big wigs there) to experience what using the Iranian internet really feels like.
Do you remember how slow a 56kbps internet connection really is? You can forget about watching HD videos when you're watching images load one pixel row at a time.
We have a huge collection of URLs that we get our audience to test. It's a competition. Which do you think would be blocked, American Idol's website or the website of the American Nazi Party? How about ilovebacon.com or gaykids.co.uk?
You're probably wrong ... But don't you want to find out why?