GIF Reopens Anti-censorship Service to Iran, Sees Immediate Spikes

ATLANTA, June 17, 2009 – In response to increased attempts from Iranian web surfers to use its anti-censorship services, Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF) has reopened them to Iran. This step has been greeted by an extraordinary traffic jump.

Amidst the political tumult, web surfers in Iran have literally rushed to utilize GIF’s protocols in order to obtain secure and censorship-free channels of communication.

“Due to the dynamic situation in Iran caused by its election and aftermath, the number of daily hits from Iran has tripled during the past week,” said Dr. Shiyu Zhou, Deputy Director of GIF.

Considering the special circumstances in Iran, GIF decided to temporarily reopen its anti-censorship services to Iranian web surfers on June 13. More than 120 million web hits to GIF immediately followed on the next day, up from less than 60 million before the reopening. On June 16, GIF protocols logged more than 200 million daily hits from Iran. Server crashes caused by overload have been reported from its data centers.

Iran had been GIF’s second largest user base, only trailing China, until the end of 2008. The growing, word-of-mouth popularity of GIF tools, including FreeGate and UltraSurf, pushed late 2008 demand to the level of overloading the capacity of GIF’s servers.

Given the risk of worldwide GIF system crashes, major restrictions of GIF’s “lifeline” services to Iran and elsewhere were put into effect in early 2009, resulting in sharp drop in Iran-originated traffic and user outcries.

“Our technology is highly scalable, and we really want to provide our services to everyone in repressive regimes,” said Dr. Zhou. “However we have very limited resources cannot now afford infrastructure large enough to do that. Our current service enhancement for the Iranian users will therefore be temporary unless we can find more support to sustain the operation.”

About The Global Internet Freedom Consortium

Formed in 2006, the Consortium is an alliance of several leading organizations in developing and deploying anti-censorship technologies for Internet users in oppressive regimes. The Consortium partners have contributed significantly to the advancement of information freedom in China. The anti-censorship technologies the Consortium members developed have enabled Internet users in China to securely visit websites blocked by the Chinese government, such as those of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Dr. Shiyu Zhou, 267-246-3792,