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Anonymizer works to get Iranians e-mail access

NEW YORK — A San Diego company that runs a system for evading Internet censors is working with the U.S. government to create a special service for people in Iran.

Anonymizer Inc.'s six-month contract with Voice of America's parent agency, International Broadcasting Bureau, calls for daily e-mail newsletters to Iranians with instructions in Farsi for accessing the free service.

According to Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based media freedom group, Iran requires Internet service providers to block hundreds of news and other sites deemed illegal. Several providers have been closed for failing to install filters.

Anonymizer and similar proxies bypass filters by masking the sites users are trying to reach.

Theoretically, anyone in the world can access Anonymizer to reach blocked sites. But many governments and companies have learned to include Anonymizer.com on their filter lists. So Anonymizer will frequently change its Web addresses and publicize them through its daily newsletter.

Lance Cottrell, Anonymizer's president, would not disclose the amount the government is paying for the Iran project.

Last year, Anonymizer provided a similar service in China, although it has been suspended pending additional funding.