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Iran Slows Internet Access Before Student Protests 289

Posted by timothy
from the oh-y'know-the-usual dept.
RiffRafff writes "Iran is at it again, pre-emptively slowing or cutting Internet access before anticipated student protests." From the article: "Seeking to deny the protesters a chance to reassert their voice, authorities slowed Internet connections to a crawl in the capital, Tehran. For some periods on Sunday, Web access was completely shut down — a tactic that was also used before last month's demonstration. The government has not publicly acknowledged it is behind the outages, but Iran's Internet service providers say the problem is not on their end and is not a technical glitch."
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Iran Slows Internet Access Before Student Protests

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  • by grcumb (781340) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:14PM (#30347422) Homepage Journal

    How long before the Iranian government lays all new fiber to a central military facility and then disable the now-current fiber links? The idea being total central control to turn off the internet connection entirely or by segments from one physical location.

    What makes you think they don't route everything through a central location already?

    Here's an analysis of the outage immediately following the presidential election [renesys.com]. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

  • Re:Proxification? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:44PM (#30347678)

    Yep - we're free to face jail time for taking a 4 minute video with a copyrighted movie in the background, for instance. Taste that freedom!

  • Re:In Australia (Score:3, Informative)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @09:13PM (#30347964)
    The same is true here in the U.S. if you are planning on organizing a demonstration on public property such as a park, or street. You have to get permits to do it.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @09:20PM (#30348012) Journal

    Sorry to disappoint you, but the "revolutionaries" are mostly urban youth (a lot of students there, obviously, which is why you often see those). However, that's not what the majority of Iran's population is - that comes from the countryside, rural agrarian folk, and they're rather happy about mullahs and Ahmadinejad. So at worst this won't be a revolution, this will be a civil war, and if the "more democracy" side wins, it will do so against the will of the majority (can you count the bodies it takes, already?).

    I very much wish for a democratic Iran, but at this point it looks as unlikely as ever.

  • but don't take my word for it: allow an actual iranian to complain about ill-informed american armchair analysts who spout stupidity based on crap assumptions like yourself:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/19/opinion/19shane.html [nytimes.com]

    ...

    For instance, some American analysts assert that the demonstrations are taking place only in the sections of Tehran -- in the north, around the university and Azadi Square -- where the educated and well-off reside. Of course, those neighborhoods were home to the well-to-do ... 30 years ago. The notion that these areas represent "the nice part of town" will come as a surprise to their residents, who endure the noise, congestion and pollution of living in the center of a megalopolis.

    People who haven't visited a city in decades are bound to give out bad directions. But their descriptions of where the protests are taking place, and why, also draw on pernicious myths of an iron correlation between religion and class, between location and voting tendency, in Iran.

    This false geography imagines South Tehran and the countryside as home only to the poor, those natural allies of political Islam, while North Tehran embodies unbridled gharbzadegi (translated as "Weststruckness" or "Westernitis") and is populated by people addicted to the Internet and vacations in Paris. It is as if political Islam withers north of Vanak Square and the only residents to be found are "liberals" who voted for the opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi.

    We must not assume that the engagement of members of society with their religion is uniform or that religious devotion equals automatic loyalty to a particular brand of politics. To do so is certainly to deny Iran's poor the capacity to think for themselves, to deny that the politics of the past four years may have made their lives worse -- and plays right into Mr. Ahmadinejad's dubious claim to be the most authentic representative of the 1979 revolution. Mr. Moussavi was, let's not forget, a favored son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and a member of Iran's original cohort of revolutionaries, and he remains a firm believer in the revolution and the framework of the Islamic Republic.

    But the United States seems able to view our country only through anxieties left over from the 1979 revolution. In the "how did we lose Iran?" assessments after the overthrow of the shah, many American intelligence agents and policy makers decided that their great mistake was to spend too much time canoodling with the royal family and intellectual elites of the capital. Commentators now are worried that, by siding with the opposition today, the United States will once again fall into the trap of backing the losing side.

    But the fact is, Tehran is not the Iranian anomaly it was 30 years ago. It has become more like the rest of the country. Internal migration, not just to Tehran but to other major cities, has accelerated, driven in part by the growth of universities in places like Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashad and Shiraz, and now nearly 70 percent of Iranians live in cities. The much vaunted rural vote represents not a decisive bloc for Mr. Ahmadinejad but a minimum, one that was easily swamped by the increased turnout of city dwellers, who normally sit elections out.

    And, of course, Iran in 2009 -- better yet, Iran on June 12, 2009 -- is not the same as Iran in 1979. Just as Tehran's neighborhoods cannot be fixed in time, the cultural lives of Iranians have greatly changed in the past 30 years. The postrevolutionary period has seen the expansion of education, the entry of women into the work force in large numbers, and changing patterns of marriage and even of divorce. These have all shaped Iranian society. The pseudo-sociology peddled by so many in the West would easily dissolve with a week's visit. ...

  • by linumax (910946) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:56PM (#30349020)

    apparently Mahmoud Ahmadinejad represents the poor and disenfranchised in Iran

    Wrong. He represents exactly the opposite. The very rich and powerful Revolutionary Guards, evident of his extremely corrupt cabinet ministers some of which are so rich that the parliament had to spend days deliberating how to give them a confidence vote and not raise questions about the way they got that obscenely rich in the first place.

    If you actually followed the events instead of dreaming them up, you would have noticed there was groups of people from different all classes protesting. The poor are especially pissed of at Ahmadinejad because he promised to fight corruption, reduce inflation and get them jobs. He then became a symbol of corruption, doubled the inflation which hits the poor most and broke unemployment records.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Monday December 07, 2009 @12:19AM (#30349154) Homepage

    You don't need laws when the biggest media are eating whatever they are fed by your administration.

    Where were their doubts about the justification for invading Iraq, voiced at the time freely in other countries?

    Hey, it's beneficial I guess when media conglomerates are one of the biggest campaign contributors...on both "sides".

  • Re:Proxification? (Score:2, Informative)

    by knutkracker (1089397) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:30AM (#30351224)

    You act as if the US stole freedom from someone. No. We're not perfect, we've got a hell of a lot to criticize, but give it a rest with the anti-American crap.

    Removing a democratically elected leader in favour of a crazed despot so that you can keep getting cheap oil [wikipedia.org] is stealing freedom from someone. The UK were just as much to blame for Iran, so it's not like it's just a US thing, but it was a seriously bad thing to do and still hasn't been put right. Your points have some merit, but the anti-American (and anti-UK) stuff is not un-justified simply because some other countries were/are badly run before/after the attempts to interfere with their governments. What would things have been like if we had left well alone?

    From people I've spoken to, the anti-American feeling in Britain comes from a mixture of:
    1. The US does do the things mentioned by the GP far more than any other country does. Killing civilians is always wrong and the reasons are rarely good enough to counterbalance the harm, so it winds people up to see it happening.
    2. Americans often take the line that it's not such a big deal for other people/countries to be devastated like this, as if it doesn't matter or it was needed because they're not very civillised anyway (like you hint at above). To be fair, I think all people feel this way about their own country's military action, but seeing as the US does so much more military action these days, it just shows more. Still not nice to hear though.
    3. The 'freedom' thing. Most people's definition of freedom involves being able to choose their own political leaders and to not get bombed, so it's clear to an impartial (non-American) observer that the Freedom often spoken about means 'freedom for us to live as Americans' and not 'Freedom for everyone to live as they choose without interference', which is what it should mean. It kind of adds insult to injury when people claim that e.g. Iraq was about Freedom, when it was clearly about Oil.

    If US foreign policy shifts towards helping other countries for the sake of it rather than for strategic benefits, then I think the anti-American feeling will start to fade.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2009 @02:04PM (#30355572)

    We're at war with Iran, we've always been at war with Iran. We've never been at war with Iraq.

    Erm... What? Am I missing something here?

    Read 1984.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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