Internet censorship

Richard Waters

An idealistic young San Francisco developer (with photogenic long hair and a gift for talking to the press) is inspired to create software to help those living under repressive regimes to get around internet censorship. He tests it first in Iran, with plans to roll it out around the world.

“It’s the perfect narrative that people wanted to believe,” says Mehdi Yahyanejad, the creator of a successful Persian language Website who reviewed the software, known as Haystack.

Alas, the software – the brainchild of 26-year-old Austin Heap – did not deliver as advertised, and could actually have put its users at risk (though Mr Yahyanejad points out that using censorship-circumventing technology is not in itself illegal in Iran). Read more