Iran’s digital authoritarianism as the Blueprint for National Sovereignty




Iran, Digital Authoritarianism, Sovereignty, Internet Fragmentation, Censorship, Surveillance


As the technological landscape undergoes continuous transformation, nations are seizing the combination of technology, governance, and sovereignty in their strategies. Following the Arab Spring, a movement primarily focused on overthrowing oppressive regimes in the Middle East, Iran took a distinctive turn by establishing a digital authoritarian model. Fueled by concerns stemming from democratic reforms worldwide - especially those facilitated by the Internet and social media, which have played a pivotal role in the collection and dissemination of information - the Iranian government perceived a potential threat to its national security and sovereignty as well as its political survival. In response to the above, Tehran implemented a range of strategies and measures in Internet governance, which represent a form of oppressive control. To regulate the Internet and control the flow of data, Iran established the National Information Network, known as the ‘Halal Internet’. This effort aims to safeguard national sovereignty through persistent control, shield political ideology, and promote a particular religious behavior within cyberspace. These developments have a noteworthy impact on individual rights, liberties, and privacy. This paper aims to explore the methods through which Iran exercises digital authoritarianism.

Author Biography

Eleni Kapsokoli, University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece

Dr. Eleni Kapsokoli is a post-doctoral candidate and research fellow at the Laboratory of Intelligence and Cyber-security at the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Piraeus. She is also a Ph.D. Alumni from the European Doctoral School on CSDP.