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Posted May 28, 2011 12:18 PM CDT
(Newser) – Iran is waging war on open Internet. Looking to limit the cyber-infiltration of Western ideas, Iran's telecommunications chief claimed that, in two years time, all Iranians would be forced to use a state-censored, fully-internal Internet. About 60% of the nation's homes and businesses are expected to be on it much sooner than that, he added. Iran sees the move toward heightened online policing as a way to uphold Islamic moral values, though whether it can truly block the world's Internet remains an open question, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Mubarak Fined $34M for Cutting Internet
Iran Vows to Unplug Internet
Iran is taking steps toward an aggressive new form of censorship: a so-called national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world.
The leadership in Iran sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet, according to observers of Iranian policy inside and outside the country. Iran, already among the most sophisticated nations in online censoring, also promotes its national Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold Islamic moral codes.
In February, as pro-democracy protests spread rapidly across the Middle East and ...
Iran has seen a proliferation of pro-democracy blogs and anti-regime activity made viral by Facebook and Twitter, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top officials support Internet regulation as a response to the "soft war" waged on them by the West. The country first plans to roll out its new network in parallel with the existing, open network, but expects to eventually make a full switch. The 11% of citizens who have Internet access will be forced to use a non-Microsoft operating system and a Google alternative called "Ya Hagh" (Oh, Justice).
Cyber attacks, politically motivated censorship, and government control over Internet infrastructure are among the diverse and growing threats to Internet freedom, according to Freedom on the Net 2011: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media, a new study released last week by Freedom House. These encroachments on Internet freedom come at a time of explosive growth in the number of Internet users worldwide, which has doubled over the past five years.
Governments are responding to the increased influence of the new medium by seeking to control online activity, restricting the free flow of information, and otherwise infringing on the rights of users.
"These detailed findings clearly show that Internet freedom cannot be taken for granted. Non democratic regimes are devoting more attention and resources to censorship and other forms of interference with online expression," said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House
Since the protests that followed Iran’s flawed presidential election on June 12, 2009, authorities have waged a fierce campaign against Internet freedom in that country, including deliberately slowing Internet speeds at critical times and using hacking to disable opposition websites. An increasing number of bloggers have been threatened, arrested, tortured, or kept in solitary confinement, and at least one died in prison.
Originally posted by Arbitrageur
The plan could backfire.
In an effort to cut Iran off from seeing pro-democracy views, the very act of censoring the outside world could be one more incentive for the pro-democracy folks to rally around to get new leadership in the country, by election, or revolution of necessary.