Saturday marks the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and with a new wave of anti-government protests expected to mark the occasion, the government there has reportedly gotten nervous enough to turn off the Internet, or at least restrict it considerably. A spate of stories on Friday reported that sites that use encrypted data, including Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and Facebook (basically anywhere you see "https" instead of "http" in the address) had been blocked. But the Iranian government hasn't acknowledged that it’s restricting anything. Regardless, a lot of hackers and information activists seem to almost welcome the chance to exercise their skills in circumventing those controls and attacking the Iranian government's web presence.
The crackdown reports come from individual users, not any official source. Ars Technica cited an Iranian poster on Hacker News who wrote that "since Thursday Iranian government has shutted [sic] down the https protocol which has caused almost all google services (gmail, and google.com itself) to become inaccessible." CNET's Charles Cooper cited one Iranian source who said access to the sites was blocked, but, "the interesting thing is that when asked, they deny the fact that all these services are all blocked." The Washington Post cited its own correspondent in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, who said that often, but not always, while trying to access Gmail, Facebook, or even the Post itself, he'll get an error message that translates as: "according to computer crime regulations, access to this Web site is denied." Google's Transparency Report, which tracks traffic coming out of specified regions, showed a lull on Friday, but it was roughly comparable to lulls on other Fridays in recent weeks: