Satellite TV is helping Iranians bypass internet censorship

A system allows them to download contraband from space.

People who live in countries with a strict nationwide internet filter always come up with ways to get around it. In Iran, according to Wired, people are using satellite TV and a free anti-censorship system called Toosheh. While Iranians do use VPN to bypass the filter, their crippling internet speeds make it hard to stream videos or download bigger files. The system gives them a way to get 1GB of data within 60 minutes. Users simply have to plug a USB stick into the set-top box, access Toosheh's channel that doesn't show anything besides text instructions and set the receiver to record.

Once the download's done, they plug the USB stick into their computers and use a tool to decode and unpack its contents. The Net Freedom Pioneers team (Tooshe's creators) includes various files in their daily package, including TED talks, YouTube/music videos and news clips from banned websites, among others. Wired says the team makes it a point to include a mix of "entertainment, education and human-rights focused material" in each package. Obviously, it's a poor alternative to having access to everything on the internet -- when was the last time you've had to work that hard for YouTube video? -- but it sure beats never being able to take a peek behind the censorship filter.