Platform surveillance and resistance in Iran and Russia: The case of Telegram

Azadeh Akbari, Rashid Gabdulhakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Telegram messenger, created by an exiled Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, brands itself as a non-mainstream and non-Western guarantor of privacy in messaging. This paper offers an in-depth analysis of the challenges faced by the platform in Iran, with 59.5% of the population using its services, and in Russia, where Telegram is popular among the urban dissent. Both governments demanded access to the platform’s encrypted content and, with Durov’s refusal, took measures to ban it. Relying on the concept of surveillant assemblage (Haggerty and Ericson 2000), this paper portrays how authoritarian states disrupt, block, and police platforms that do not comply with their intrusive surveillance. Additionally, we consider the tools and actors that make up internet control assemblages as well as the resistance assemblages that take shape in response to such control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalSurveillance and society
Volume17
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

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