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Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

In Censorship Move, Iran Plans Its Own Internet 206

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-threw-a-party-and-nobody-came dept.
An anonymous reader writes "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 (summary of paywalled WSJ report). 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." The article also mentions unconfirmed local press reports suggesting that Iran is building its own national operating system.
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In Censorship Move, Iran Plans Its Own Internet

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  • Last Post! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @08:59AM (#36295686)

    in Iran.

    • Re:Last Post! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:08AM (#36295766)

      I'm sure it'll go really well when buisness owners can't get email and have problems communicating with the outside world to sell their products.

      • by Stele (9443)

        Outside world? Sounds like they don't want/need it.

        How far down into the sand do you have to stick your head before you can't hear anything again?

        • Re:Last Post! (Score:4, Informative)

          by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @10:14AM (#36296484) Journal

          Iran certainly needs the outside world to buy its oil and sell some of it back as refined and distilled petroleum products, seeing as the military and the Ayatollahs, who now amount to little more than a theocratic face on the military dictatorship, have basically let Iran's infrastructure rot.

          Their plan is moronic and would only further marginalize their crippled economy. At least China is run by sane despots. Iran is being increasingly run by idiots.

          • Do you think they would rather be in charge of a crippled economy, or not-in-charge of a successful economy?

            There's an old expression: 'Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven.' Looks like it translates across religions quite well.
            • Maybe, but at some point the tyranny coupled with the lack of economic development is going to end in revolution. It's inevitable. I hardly approve of the Chinese way of doing things, but one does have to give Deng Xiaoping and his heirs a helluva lot of credit for moving from ideological dictatorship (in China's case Maoism) to a pragmatic dictatorship. It isn't perfect, and China has a lot of work to do to raise the fortunes of the vast sea of rural and semi-rural populace, but the Chinese government i

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Would that be the jew infested US satan [bbc.co.uk], or the rain stealing EU [telegraph.co.uk] you think they want to communicate with ?

        • by Zedrick (764028)
          Both I guess. There are religious politicians in the US and the EU too, but companies run by normal people wanting to make money still operate in the real world.
          • HUGE difference (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There's a HUGE difference between a theocracy (and an islamic theocracy *stones* people, mainly women) and a few (or even a lot) religious politicians.

            You know the stoning story from the Bible ? Where Jesus saves the woman. Well here's the islamic version :

            Abdullah b. 'Umar reported that a Jew and a Jewess were brought to allah's messenger who were accused of committing adultery. Allah's messenger came to the Jews and said: What do you find in Torah for one who commits adultery? They said: We darken their faces and make them ride on the donkey with their faces turned to the opposite direction (and their backs touching each other), and then they are taken round (the city). He said: Bring Torah if you are truthful. They brought it and recited it until when they came to the verse pertaining to stoning, the person who was reading placed his hand on the verse pertaining to stoning, and read (only that which was) between his hands and what was subsequent to that. Abdullah b. Salim who was at that time with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Command him (the reciter) to lift his hand. He lifted it and there was, underneath that, the verse pertaining to stoning. Allah's messenger pronounced judgment about both of them and they were stoned. Abdullah ibn 'Umar said: I was one of those who stoned them, and I saw him (the Jew) protecting her (the Jewess) with his body.

            Now imagine this being law. And that's just the beginning.

            Never let a muslim tell you differently : following the paedophile prophet means following that story. It is the duty of every muslim (if he's male) to impose those punishments, everywhere, which o

      • Well... with the current boycots imposed by (mostly) NATO, there is not too much business with countries with free internet anyway.

        I guess they can always build one or two glass fibre cables to hook up to Russia and China, who do still trade with them...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        How many IPv4 addresses will this free up?

      • Unless the Iranians have suddenly lost an alarming number of IQ points in a completely inexplicable virus attack, I'm guessing that, as always, the internal internet will be for the little people and the people who have a need, and/or the right friends, will have the real deal.

        There will, presumably, be some sort of licensing procedure, and known extra scrutiny on "outside lines"; but there is no way that they'd be stupid enough to deny access for business use. Even the DPRK, among the most authoritarian
      • by kheldan (1460303)
        Why would anyone, businessman or private citizen, put up with this? At the very least I can't see why anybody would pay to use such a useless thing. It'd be worse than the old days of AOL!
    • by Hadlock (143607)

      ...Internet censors you?

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:07AM (#36295762)

    Sure seems like the technological savvy of Iran would be pushing private, wireless, encrypted, mesh networking as a means to counter these efforts. For Iranians, censorship is but one of their their problems. Communication and control is the leadership's real desire. Censorship is just a means to an end - control.

    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:28AM (#36295976)

      If you're living under a really opressive government those things don't really help.

      pass a law making it illegal to run a mesh network(leave it vague so you can enforce it against whoever you like) and kick down the doors of a few people running "illegal network points" and justify it with something about terrorism or whatever enemy you like.

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Well, that's the point of a mesh network. Its decentralized. It can be combated, but its much harder to do so. And if you have traffic off of their network, they don't know it exists without feet on the ground. So it can provide for alternative communication channels outside of totalitarian control.

        • no I mean you can walk around with an dish and point to any houses with "subversives" in them.
          People are easily scared and all you have to do is kick down a few doors and show you can catch people easily. Make a show of it and suddenly the network breaks apart as not enough people join it to keep it all connected.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Censorship is just a means to an end - control.

      If they push a mesh network you can use it to get around them. Clearly they are interested in substituting one system of control for another. Nothing to see here.

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Actually there is. When they own the entire network, they have absolute control. That's the point which you seem to be missing. They don't have absolute control now. A mesh network would make their control even more illusive.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          They don't have absolute control now. A mesh network would make their control even more illusive.

          That's what I said, except I would have said elusive, since they're always trying to take it. Either way, though.

          With a mesh network, you don't own the entire network — that's the whole point. But who cares? The internet is a network of networks. What they need to do in this case is what China has done; take over the internet in their own country, and control every point of *gress. Either way you cannot prevent people putting up their own internet gateways and the like, but you can take control over t

          • by spectro (80839)

            Time to roll a communications satellite with free internet access over there. All they will need is to point a dish to the right place

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              All they will need is to point a dish to the right place

              ...to jam the satellite, since it provides a single point of failure.

              Oh, the "they" you were talking about wasn't their government? My bad.

            • A highly visible dish. The government will probably fly a helecopter around every major city from time to time, spot all the dishes, and dispatch whatever police department they have to make people disappear under mysterious circumstances. Even if you use a tiny little antenna (Yes, you can get briefcase-sized sat uplinks), they still leak a little signal - enough for a detector van to pick up and triangulate.
    • Iran, like China, has trucks that drive around triangulating unauthorized wireless signals. You can encrypt it all you want; that won't stop a few soldiers with guns from kicking in your door and shooting your wife.

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:08AM (#36295768) Journal

    No, that was in fact quoting the Fox News article verbatim.

    Even if we don't like copyright, we like correct attribution, right guys?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:10AM (#36295796)

    "disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world (summary of paywalled WSJ report)".

    Oh snap.

  • they cross breed and pollinate with each other, and therefore survive and prosper. when cultures wall themselves off in isolation, they wither and die. you can't preserve your country by locking it up. that's a recipe for obsolescence

    iranian govt: you want persian minds to grow up in an echo chamber, unaware of the wider world. which simply means you want persian minds to be inferior minds. you are also extremely condescending and insulting to your own people: you don't think that they can handle exposure to other cultures. you think they will lose their persianness, as if iran is a weak thing that will go *POOF* at the first exposure to the decadent west. well, considering your street protests you brutally suppressed in 2009, you are close: the iranian GOVERNMENT is weak and will go *POOF* when it's people see how much better it is without your control freak nature at the helm. soon enough, you ignorant, arrogant assholes, your people will understand the problem is not the decadent west, but YOU

    you would rather hobble your own people than liberalize the iranian government. all you do is hurt iran, just because you are insecure

    long live iran: death to its feeble govt

    • iranian govt: you want persian minds [...] to be inferior minds.

      Well, I guess that's the whole point, isn't it?

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      many human cultures have existed in isolation for centuries without "withering and dying"; you made that up
      • withering and dying is a relative term. for example, the cross-pollination that happened on eurasia left eurasians leaps and bounds ahead of the native american cultures in terms of technological advancement. sure, the people on easter island can live for centuries without contact and do just fine. it's a relative comparison. the point is, iran will not advance if it is artificially isolated

        • by Ltap (1572175)
          That depends on the theory you ascribe to. The likeliest theory is the "Guns, Germs, and Steel" one. Mayan culture in particular was very advanced, it simply lacked many of the resources Eurasians took for granted. However, you are correct in that the Europeans used trade to their advantage, especially given the number of things that were invented in China and made their way along the Silk Road.
  • Just file it under yet another example of the Iran's absurd, paradoxical sense of governance highlighting their poor sense of irony. It's almost as if they want to educate their populace and then send them abroad to work and live elsewhere. They encourage denial of employment to women, yet allow them to seek higher education. They encourage rigorous university standards to discourage men from using college to avoid conscription. Couple this with a failed economy and what do they get? A highly educated youth
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:28AM (#36295982) Homepage

    I know, you could call it

    *long drawn out drum roll*

    Iran-ternet

  • Iran Operating System with Ahmadinejad Permitted Program store?
  • Can't have it both ways. You either have science and the advantages of the internet, or you have censorship control. The more of the latter, the less of the former. This is why Germany and USSR had so many scientists defect, the lesser educated people (thugs) get into government command and control, and the more educated (professors and scientists and students) dislike the jock overlords. They find ways either out or around. Then both the thugs and the scientists go home for the day and try to find out
    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      This is why Germany and USSR had so many scientists defect, the lesser educated people (thugs) get into government command and control, and the more educated (professors and scientists and students) dislike the jock overlords

      Interesting. So you think lesser educated people like jock overlords?

      Or perhaps, those scientists were valuable to countries outside of Germany and USSR, and those countries would make an effort to get them.

      Unlike plumbers and brick layers.

  • by dk90406 (797452) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:34AM (#36296056)
    from the rest of the world, no one can stop them. But the rest of the world should, as a consequence, stop routing ANY traffic to Iran or Iranian controlled entities. That would also isolate the Iranian government and business. As a concequence:
    • Any international business can only be done over phone and Fax
    • Any international advertising for Iranian businesses can only be in papers
    • Any international communications must be mail, phone or fax. Including communication to embassies
    • It would affect international travel booking
    • ... (you get the picture)

    The country and regime couldn't survive that. But if they want to: Good luck in your little bubble Iran.

    • by hodet (620484) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @09:55AM (#36296256)
      Yes this is what I want, governments all over the world getting together and manipulating the internet for political reasons. Today Iran, tomorrow any other country deemed undesirable. Ok well that's enough heavy lifting for today. Let's come back tomorrow and agree on some criteria. Should be easy right?
    • That's shit! Why are you suggesting new sanctions and why everybody +1-ed this as "Interesting"? The government here doesn't give a shit about any of these and the only ones who actually suffer these restrictions are us Iranian people who live in the country. Our government already does enough silly things to us, why do you suggest accompanying them with more powerful, international silly things against us?
      • by dk90406 (797452)
        TFA suggested that Iran wanted to create a separate, isolated "Internet" for its citizens. That the Iranian government wants to cut YOU from the rest of the world.
        My post was trying to point out a threat that would prevent the Iranian government doing that.
  • Some of the best and brightest people I know are from Iran. They work hard, pay lots in taxes, stay married, and raise loving stable families. The USA is a better country because they are here. Hopefully this nonsense in Iran will help us attract even more great Iranians to live their lives here, contributing to the USA rather than the Mullahs in Iran.
  • Well, nothing shrieks of despair like such move. In fact, we should not say that "Iran" does it, it is it's desperate "we will have Islam superstate yo" regime. They are so removed from reality that it feels like they are on their way to become second North Korea (hate ideology, armed to teeth, etc.)

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Just Brew It! (636086) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @10:02AM (#36296332)
    Does this mean we can reclaim their IPv4 address space? Forget their oil, we want their IP addresses!
  • how do you have the sort of educated populace that the super wealthy want to take care of them and build cool stuff for them, and keep them poor and ignorant? I guess this is a good start. China's having a big problem with their huge (250m+) middle class. If you educate them enough that their brains work for stuff like liver transplants and doing the architecture on your 15000 sq/ft mansion then they usually start questioning why you've got it so good and their living in a dirt shack...
  • You going off to start your own internet? hm? without hookers and blackjack?
  • I am gonna make my own internet with gambling, hookers and booze.... actually, forget the gambling
  • I read somewhere that there are more books translated into Spanish in a year than have been translated into Arabic EVER. How else can you keep your 16th century mentality intact? (With apologies to my Iranian friends who don't deserve the current political situation.)
    • by Opyros (1153335)
      Iranians aren't Arabs, though.
    • by gtall (79522)

      They speak Farsi, mostly, not Arabic. Not sure what the translation rate if for Farsi but I'm betting it isn't high...probably higher than Arabic though. When your education system has been turned over the religious nutjobs such as Saudi Arabia, you don't need no stinking outside influences. Does anyone know to what extent the Iranian education system has been brought under the control of the religious police?

  • This will require hardware to set up, and Iran sure as hell doesn't make their own. Is it any way feasible to keep the manufacturers and resellers from providing / supporting the gear?

    .
  • I can just see it now. What'll they do over there after they have their squeaky-clean halal Internet? What'll they do for entertainment?

    Imagine that -- Iranian camwhores, scandalizing the nation by lifting their burkas a whole inch above their ankles, to the shock and amusement of all.

    • by gtall (79522)

      Iranians do not wear burkas. That's mostly Sunni tradition. They do require women cover their heads though, 'tis a sign on their enslavement (to borrow a concept from Harry Potter).

  • by v1 (525388)

    I think this is actually a good idea. I'm not a supporter of censorship, but if you can set the whole censorship idea aside, think about it. They are essentially considering making an islamic internet. A darknet, relative to the common global internet. This isn't really such a bad idea for them. It would allow them to regulate the content on their internet, to create their own "walled garden" as the popular catchphrase of late describes. I could see other conservative islamic states like saudi arabia

  • So, something like IranOS, Windows for Mullahs, Persia120 (like Xbox360, but with a smaller angle and the novel new BLACK ring of death)?

    Or perhaps a custom version of Linux called Red Turban? (China already has Red Flag Linux, so there's precedent...)

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