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Iran Developing 'Halal' Domestic Intranet 248

An anonymous reader writes "The WSJ reports that Iran is beginning a crackdown on Internet use by its citizens, creating new blocks against foreign content and stepping up surveillance of browsing habits. Internet cafes in Iran have 15 days to set up security cameras and start collecting information on customers, and people are finding it increasingly difficult to use social networking sites. The new restrictions are likely being implemented now to head off dissent and protests about the upcoming parliamentary elections. According to the article, 'The network slowdown likely heralds the arrival of an initiative Iran has been readying—a "halal" domestic intranet that it has said will insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet. This week's slowdown came amid tests of the Iranian intranet, according to domestic media reports that cited a spokesman for a union of computer-systems firms. He said the intranet is set to go live within a few weeks.'"
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Iran Developing 'Halal' Domestic Intranet

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday January 06, 2012 @09:49AM (#38608834)

    creating new blocks against foreign content and stepping up surveillance of browsing habits

    Sounds familiar for some reason.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @09:53AM (#38608872)

    Why is Iran doing this to itself? It's so needlessly self destructive. Just stop it. Behave yourself, the sanctions will come off, and we can all get along. Aggressive posturing, locking your people off from the world, and developing variants of nuclear technology best able to produce weapons grade material... what is the point of all this? Best case you'll get a bomb and then what? Hundreds of years of MAD as the rest of the world contains you? That sounds like loads of fun. If you just stopped all this we could normalize relations to everyone's benefit.

  • by A10Mechanic ( 1056868 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @09:54AM (#38608876)
    The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2012 @09:56AM (#38608902)

    and has begun implementing it. The corporations will be pleased!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:00AM (#38608920)

    This gives a strong signal that your ideology doesn't stand up to whatever else is out there. Alright, so it's strongly worded against "the west", for which read American Freedom And Liberty And Democracy (And Republicanism) And Commercialised Happiness For All[tm], which is strongly evangelised by the world's highest tech army, navy, and air force. Before you bristle: Yes, there is a strong case to be made that it is in fact an ideology with religious fervour backing it to match. The lot of you aren't nearly as Christian as you think, you're American[tm] first. Bristle on.

    The point, however, is that ultimately such a strong signal of negativism will be self-defeating. They're defining themselves as something they are not, instead of as something they are. The more they have to denounce most of the world to keep to their way, the more of their people will stray from that way and find other ways to life fulfullment. And it leaves lots of attack angles for competing ideologies. Nevermind the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, that's just the pry-bar. The more you clam up, the more others will poke at you.

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:04AM (#38608948)
    You don't think that ordinary Iranians want this? Iran is run by three power blocks: the religious authorities, the "revolutionary guards" aka "just another set of Middle Eastern military rulers that have stolen the oil revenues", and the very weak civilian Government with a President who, just like a Republican candidate, has to pretend to be a religious fruitcake to keep power.

    I doubt Iranians want any of this. But the three power blocks have to posture and jockey for position, and this is what happens.

  • by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:06AM (#38608960)

    First what is good for the majority of iranian is not necessarely good for the current leadership..
    Second foreign influence in Iran do not have a very good track record, so it is not "that tempting".

    You can look at the situation in North Korea where it's even crazier, but obviously there are enough people benefiting to control the rest.

    And maybe closer to your home: why are the US doing this to itself ? It's so needlessly self destructive. Just stop it. Behave yourelf, you do not need to put 1% of your adult population in prison, and rob the rest of all their saved, current and future cash with shemanigans like subprime financing, inflated student loans, etc.. what is the point of all this ? Best case a couple of manager get more money that they could possible spend in their lifetime, and then what ? Hundreds of years of eroding of civil liberties while the rest of the work shakes it's head ? That sounds like loads of fun. If you stopped all this you could have a nice life and everyone benefit..
    And you know what ... not gonna happen real soon now ...

  • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:09AM (#38608992)
    And I mean clerics of every stripe and color. Once you've empowered people with the weight of "the word of gawd", allowing them to govern based on that authority is a recipe for suffering and injustice. It has always been so, and it always will be. The world will be a far, far better place when we can tell all the believers to STFU about what everyone else must do and to focus more on walking their own spiritual path.
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:09AM (#38608994)

    It's kind of an "in one ear, out the other" thing. Like when you get down into Muslim theology, the concepts of dar al-harb vs dar al-islam, the fact that Mohammed - a rapist, a pedo, not to mention a liar who repeatedly broke treaties - is the idea of the "perfect man" whose example Muslim leaders are expected to follow.

    Nobody wants to believe it when they hear what comes out of the mouths of Iranian leaders, or Palestinian leaders, or Muslim Brotherhood leadership in countries like Syria or Lebanon or Egypt, because it means some pretty awful things. Kind of like how the world didn't want to think that the Nazis were REALLY that bad when Chamberlain was negotiating with them (how'd that turn out again?).

    Personally, I'm not one to believe that all Muslims are bloodthirsty, nor hate-filled. But there are enough of a minority that are to do some really nasty things in the world, and it's a religion in desperate need of something akin to the Protestant Reformation that Christianity went through to inject some much-needed sense and throw out a lot of the nastier stuff.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:14AM (#38609048)

    clearly you're kidding... but the thing is that it forces our hand. We've been in a position to kill them all from the very start.That we don't is a matter of politics and morality.

    But from a strictly military perspective we could wipe them out to the last screaming child.

    Why poke that in the eye with a stick?

    What Iran is doing slowly but surely is eroding their political and moral defenses that guard their nation from annihilation. Their military is irrelevant. It is no defense. It would be like clubbing baby seals either way. In fact, the death blow would look identical either way.

    What defends Iran is the international outrage over doing such a thing unprovoked and the moral goodness of the American people to find such actions abhorrent.

    What Iran is doing progressively is building justification for some sort of military action against them. And morally... they're slowly justifying some sort of strike as well. In effect, they're slowly raising the guillotine blade that when it falls... will at best strike off the head of their nation. At worst, there will be collateral damage.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:18AM (#38609108)

    The US problems are nothing like the problems in Iran. US problems stem from greedy people just being greedy. Iran problems stem from morons believing in horrible ideas that are illogical and tend to violate human rights. Really, like the fucking heavens opened up and a voice boomed out that said "LOCK DOWN YOUR INTERNETS BECAUSE I SAID SO" Religion is poison. If you spend time obsessing about it, you are tainted.

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:20AM (#38609114) Journal

    But Mohammed created a religion that divides the world into "us" and "not-us" (dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb) with a primary mode of interaction consisting of antagonism and violence

    That sounds like Christianity for most of it's history... until separation of church and state prevented Christianity from starting more wars.

  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:26AM (#38609164)

    Man, the Iranians have it really bad. I mean, it's not like the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches keep trying to outdo each other in new levels of stupidity over here in the good ol' U S of A!

  • by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:30AM (#38609206)

    ... the same, oups wait, no they never had an open Internet.

    Iran is on the Internet since approx: 95/96 (ok at that time they had about 19200b/s to connect them to the university of vienna...
    KSA started to authorise Internet only around 2001 and only after they had installed a "country firewall"....

    But all this shows that Internet is a tool, not a "solution"... Internet does NOT "route around sensorship", people do using the tools at hand, and it is not easy because the means of sensorship are many...

    Making in country hosting very expensive and throttling international internet access are the most comment means...
    Manipulating the search engine, either because you own it, or through various "preservation" laws another...
    Make laws about what you are allowed to say is an all time favorite..

    The Jim Crow laws have been repelled, including the laws forbidding to critisize them, but equivalent laws about drug policies, Intellectual properties policies, etc... abound in all the world...
    With the effect that even with an "open internet" the info might "be there", but no local person therefore no "locally connected" person can point to it... (thing thai monarchy for an example concerning another "ally")

    Only civic movements can change things, and even then "your mileanage might vary", (see the result of the "arab spring", now the new arab winter...)

  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:34AM (#38609280)

    with a President who, just like a Republican candidate, has to pretend to be a religious fruitcake to keep power.

    You haven't been paying much attention to Ahmadamnutjob or his Republican counterparts lately, have you? It's obvious they actually believe their religious fruitcakery. There's no pretending involved.

    Especially that Santorum guy. Wow. He's basically Ahmadamnutjob in a sweater vest.

  • Re:Atheism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:36AM (#38609304)
    Yeah, it is not like there could be any secular reason why people might try to set up a national firewall...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_firewall_of_china [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOPA [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:47AM (#38609434)
    Ahh, classic karma whoring..

    Article: Country X does something silly/dumb/mean
    "yeah but the US does something similar in some degree so the US sucks!" (Score:5, Insightful)
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @10:56AM (#38609572)

    Did I say it was easy? No, but the reforms that happened - and not all of them happened all at once, nor cleanly - wound up massively cleaning up the Christian religious problems. Throwing out a ton of corruption, and leading up to the rise of secularization and separation of church/state that the US, Canada, and most of Europe now take more or less for granted (Ireland/England being two notable exceptions).

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @11:08AM (#38609716) Homepage Journal

    As a US citizen you can still travel to Iran freely for business and tourism (for now). Technically they aren't an enemy (unless you buy the whole "Axis of Evil" rhetoric). The problem is that "we" don't want the Nuclear club getting any bigger, and when people say "would destabilize the region" they mean "Israel is likely to nuke Iran back to the stone age in a preemptive attack". This would cause several arab and muslim states to strongly consider nuking Israel, of note Iran and Pakistan. Syria doesn't have nukes but they wouldn't need a lot of convincing to start lobbing bombs across the border. It's a small region (think New Jersey) and they don't need to go very far.
    If you look at the activity that's been going on lately, we sent an expensive spy drone over in to Iran, a missile research lab just outside of Tehran mysteriously exploded, and both the Chinese and the US both launched some high tech gadgetry in to space that orbits over Iran every few hours. Whatever they see down there must be pretty fucking juicy if we've talked the entire European continent to stop buying Iran's oil (1/5th of total current production) in the middle of a global recession.
    So yeah, as always in this region there are a lot of things going on here -- Iran is a huge country (population 75 million, geographic size, wealth) with Nuclear ambitions, doesn't like Israel, and we don't want them getting the bomb. We are trying to protect Israel* via economic sanctions against Iran and stabilize the region, Iran is fighting for their ability to defend themselves and is holding the world's economy hostage.
    *Why? This is the real question. Zionism sounds like a dirty word (it's not), but that's my guess

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @11:33AM (#38610048) Journal
    Blockading the straights is the dumbest possible thing Iran could do. That would result in the rest of the countries in the region begging the USA to punk Iran (more then they already do). In terms of realpolitik, the last thing Iran should do is give the USA an internationally recognized Casus belli.
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @11:40AM (#38610120)

    But what would happen if something like the Occupy movement really started to gain ground and actually started shutting down cities and firebombing corporate HQ's?

    Why would they have to shut down cities or firebomb corporate HQ's?

    The treatment of "Occupiers" in public parks (or pseudo, "it's a park on private property that is required to be available to the public 24/7 by terms of agreement with the city" bullshit) was a good indication of how it goes down.

    Step 2 has been SOPA.

    Last time we had a movement like OWS, they were the Hoovervilles and the Bonus Army, and just like today, the Republican response (courtesy of Herbert Hoover) was to send in troops to beat them up.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:10PM (#38610432)

    It won't work.

    First, most of the muslim world doesn't see Iran as a natural ally. Islam is very factional. Think of it like the old division between catholic and protestant only worse because their fanatics are more wild eyed then a 15th century cardinal.

    Second, the Arab princes are allies even if occasionally duplicitous ones. They are afraid of Iran and will help us bring it down so long as we're gentle about it.

    Third, even if they did unite the whole muslim world against us that's not actually a very credible military force. When was the last time you bought something that said "made in "? Probably never because they have almost no industrial capacity. That means they have no ability to wage a modern war.

    Oh sure, they can plant IEDs if you let them get close. But if you waged a WW2 type war against them none of that would work. Do you think we let german civilian hang out around our entrenchments during our invasion of germany? Every man, woman, and child had to keep their distance.

    I stress this only to point out that if Iran got what you say they want... it would be the worst thing that has ever happened to Iran.

    I don't know what they're thinking. It's possible that like the Japanese, they've misunderstood our nature. The Japanese through years of diplomatic negotiations came to believe that the US was weak willed. That we would always take the easy out to avoid war. They gathered this because we didn't respond to small provocations. We let it go. And that implied to them that we would respond uniformly in that manner. Osama Bin Ladin also came to a similar belief. In both cases, they miscalculated in that US responses changed radically after their respective attacks.

    Why the change? Because in both cases they burned out their moral and diplomatic protection. This is what guards Iran. It isn't her soldiers or missiles. It is the US's own opinion of itself and the impression of other relevant nations. If Iran does something that poisons it's moral standing and diplomatic standing enough that an attack is justified in the US's opinion... it will happen.

    This is what Iran must prevent. It isn't hard to do... But Iran appears to be going out of their way to make attacking them easier. It will be the end of their government. And all resistance will do is increase the suffering of their people.

  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:34PM (#38610726)

    > There's no "moderate" Muslims out there- those you think are that are practicing Taqiyaa or they're Apostate.

    Maybe, but that happens to account for the overwhelming majority of them. The fact is, most Muslims are about as religious as most Christians and Jews -- it's cultural background noise they mostly buy into because they grew up surrounded by it, and maybe feel a tiny bit guilty if they don't at least pay lip service to.

    The Bible commands Christians (and Jews) to do lots of silly, abhorrent things for seemingly stupid reasons, and the overwhelming majority of Christians have no problem ignoring the more embarrassing parts. Why is it so difficult to give Muslims the same benefit of doubt? Remember, to an average Turk or urban Egyptian, Americans are foaming-at-the-mouth Jesus-crazed lunatics. Muslim extremists are better at doing global public relations to make support for their cause look widespread, but we have plenty of (nominally) Christian loonies of our own roaming around America.

    Most Americans don't seem to grasp that the Mullahs in Iran are in basically the same legal position as the RIAA/MPAA in America -- they own the courts & run the government, but normal people hate them... especially young Iranians. And attempts by Iranians to fight them are usually about as successful as attempts by Americans to fight the MPAA & RIAA -- lots of skirmishes, occasional random victories, but mostly a trail of personal devastation (cue up John Cougar Mellencamp's "Authority Song").

    The point is, Iran is a very awkward situation. It has a government that's extremely belligerent to the rest of the world, and a populace that's largely powerless to do anything about it because the Mullahs effectively have veto power over everything. The best thing the US can do is to maintain the status quo... kick Iran down every time it gets uncomfortably close to having nuclear bombs, and basically just wait for the Revolution generation to die off and get kicked aside by younger Iranians who'd rather be a secular, nominally-Muslim-ish republic.

    A full-blown nuclear war with Iran would be a horrific human tragedy that would likely wipe Israel (and Tehran, and a dozen or so other cities) completely off the map. Nobody sane wants that to happen. MAD worked against the Soviet Union, because the Soviet Union's leaders were basically sane & shared most of the same goals as their counterparts in America. They didn't want to see their countries get destroyed, and didn't want their families to die in horrible ways.

    The same can't necessarily be said about Iran. I personally think Ahmadinejad just wants to have a big nuclear penis to wave in front of Israel's face, and that he personally wouldn't go through with a suicidal attack that would likely result in the deaths of a quarter of Iran's population... but the big danger is that whomever *replaces* him after he tells the Mullahs, "Erm, no. I'm not going to go through with it" might not be quite as secretly-sane.

  • by moj0joj0 ( 1119977 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @01:51PM (#38611744)

    and just like today, the Republican response (courtesy of Herbert Hoover) was to send in troops to beat them up.

    Republican? Try Political response. Republican, Democrat, it doesn't matter and hasn't mattered a damn for years now.
    While I agree with a large part of your statement, don't put this on any one particular group - aside from rhetoric, there is no fundamental difference between the two parties.
    Obama is a moderate Republican and Romney is a moderate Republican - regardless of with which parties they affiliate themselves.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @02:23AM (#38619554)

    As to the insurgents, they're only an issue because we try to pacify their regions rather then hitting them with total war. Were Japanese or German insurgents a problem for allied forces? No. Because it would not be tolerated. The instant something like that became a problem, the whole region would be depopulated. Not killed... just moved.

    The Islamists think we have treated with them very cruelly and harshly. But the reality is that there are few enemies in our history we have treated better.

    Beyond that, I'm making a moral argument here. Something the islamists like to believe is that the west are demons. That we are immoral and blood thirsty. The problem with that is that if we were, they'd all be dead. So I make the military argument in part to stress the importance of the moral argument. It is the morality that defends the islamic world. OUR morality. There is no force of arms on earth that could stop us. We would roll over their military as if it weren't even there. What holds us back are certain political considerations and our own sense of revulsion at the very idea of such an act.

    The insurgents if we were immoral wouldn't be a problem because we'd just shoot them all. Insurgents only get close because they pretend to be civilians. If you treat all civilians as hostiles then insurgents can't get close because disguising themselves as civilians is useless.

    As to the future of war... keep in mind that every generation believes the next war will be like the last war. They're always shocked to find they're different.

    Don't make assumptions... stick with what is strictly possible... not what someone will do or won't do... but rather what they can and cannot do...

    The problem the islamists have is that the West is restrained by what they won't do not what they can't do... where as they are restrained not by what they won't do but what they can't do. They have morally justified using children to kill children. They have morally justified attacking innocent civilians in distant cities that have done them no injury. What did the people of New York do to the people of Afghanistan? Nothing. If anything they helped them against the Soviet invasion. And yet they justified the attack.

    Where as the US in all it's righteous fury was restrained not by what it could not do... but by what it would not do even in its pain and rage.

    The Islamic world is shielded by no art of their own making but by moral codes of the West's own value system. That system is not well understood by the islamic world. It has lines and layers. It is not a good idea to go spilling ink all over the system without at least grasping its significance.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court