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Censorship Communications The Internet Your Rights Online

Iran's Web Censorship Filters Supreme Leader's Own Statement 66

halfEvilTech writes "Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's own words have now become a victim of Iran's massive online censorship infrastructure. Khamenei, according to a translation by RFE, replied [to a question about the censorship laws themselves]: 'In general, the use of antifiltering software is subject to the laws and regulations of the Islamic republic, and it is not permissible to violate the law.' However, his own use of the word 'antifiltering' apparently triggered Iran's own filtering system, making Khamenei's words inaccessible to most Iranians." Which seems to be a universal problem with such filters: even for proponents, they tend to backfire.
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Iran's Web Censorship Filters Supreme Leader's Own Statement

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  • Those who live by censorship shall die by it.

  • 1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.

    what crazy filtering would it be if journalists were allowed to circumvent int? they'd know it to be illegal anyways - and if not illegal then frowned upon by the rep. guard, which is all that matters in the first place in a land without decent law.

    • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @12:03PM (#39955465)

      This isn't secret filtering. This is the government (claiming it is only) trying to block out non Islamic content, it's censorship and they probably have similar policies for other media. In that situation it's no secret that they're filtering, or that they're censoring. In fact we censor child pornography in the west, and as a society people know about and are fully aware of this censorship. We don't make an effort to censor discussions of how to get around the censorship of child porn, but if you believe Islamic values will be compromised by exposure to decadent western culture and imperialist thoughts, or zionist propaganda then discussions of how to get around filtering are very much problematic.

      Journalists here have a certain amount of power to know things which are censored but they don't talk about, or don't talk about yet. Usually the press gets a pre-brief before official briefings, they know what that loud banging sound at the whitehouse is, they know who is accused of a crime even if their name is protected by a publication ban etc.

      Filtering is just an effort to enforce censorship. It's not the only method, and if you're reasonably upfront about what you're censoring then there's no need for secret filtering, it's just filtering in support of existing censorship laws. You may think Iran is not a country of decent laws, but I would argue they are middle of the road. Easily half the world is far more backwards, corrupt and far more arbitrary than Iran. They may not be good, but at least they acknowledge that they're censoring content and using filtering to try and enforce that.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        they're not a country of decent laws because there is a group inside which don't need to adhere to them and which can use them as they wish, hence they're not a real republic and a lot of the laws they do enforce are globally considered morally suspect.

        the article is about how it's against the law to circumvent the filtering. no specific laws are mentioned actually, just that it's the statement from the religious leader that circumventing it is against existing laws(it's possibly revolutionary? you see, the

        • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

          As though the west doesn't have incompetent policies or mind numbingly stupid implementations? Ever heard of the TSA in the US, bridges to nowhere (also in the US), or the dozens of different rules about who can and can't publish mein kampf? Remember when Ted Kennedy, the US senator (when he was alive) was on the US No fly list? Half of europe still have rules on sunday shopping. You know they used to have rules in the EU about the shapes of food so that it looked like the right quality on store shelves

          • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

            Actually, you are right. Iran is definitely a republic, in the same way Rome was a Republic. In the way way that the Senate and People of Rome was oligarchic, Iran is theocratic. Iran does have elections and more to the point, it does have leaders elected or chosen to carry out governmental tasks that represent others. It does not have a monarch, although the Supreme Leader is pretty darn close to an elective king.

            Iran is not is a fully *democratic* republic nor does it have a very large degree of libert

            • i don't believe that you cross a line in the sand and human nature magically changes. what works ideologically in one place works just as well, or just as badly, anywhere else. you don't have to believe that a free exchange of ideas works for all people, but that idea you have, in and of itself, when it shapes a country or a society, it weakens that society

              and then the society that does allow the free exchange of information beats the censorial one. whether through cultural dominance, because the children g

    • 2nd RULE: You do not talk about
  • LOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:59AM (#39954471)

    He should have said: ant1f1t3r1ng...

    • by JaimeZX ( 780523 )
      Wait a minute, you mean all I have to do is say "anti-filtering" and it'l#$^&@&O$p1ethi....###NO CARRIER
  • ... they didn't see it coming.


  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @11:20AM (#39954751) Homepage

    If I am not misunderstanding, he basically just laid down a fine line that implies that using anti-filter technology IS ok, as long as you arent doing that specifically in order to commit another crime. A pretty reasonable line to parse - and one that would give anyone caught in simple possession of such tools a nice legal out. "I only got that so I could read the Supreme Leaders statement! "

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not exactly. To paraphrase more accurately, he said that any antifiltering software must be used in a way that is compliant with the law. The law says that private citizens are to be filtered. Therefore the correct logical deduction is that only 'special' people are allowed to have filter bypasses. I'm sure this "special" group includes the ayatollah, the president, and most of the government. You wouldn't want to obstruct THEIR access... But regular schmoes are boned.

    • If I am not misunderstanding, he basically just laid down a fine line that implies that using anti-filter technology IS ok, as long as you arent doing that specifically in order to commit another crime. A pretty reasonable line to parse - and one that would give anyone caught in simple possession of such tools a nice legal out. "I only got that so I could read the Supreme Leaders statement! "

      No, from TFA, it's pretty clear that he said that anti-filtering tools are illegal, and that citizens are required t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The way "Iran" is reported in our press, it's easy to forget that the Iranian government is not a monolith. It has factions and power blocs within it. The Supreme Leader's view is not necessarily the same as the view of the minister responsible for internet filtering, which in turn may differ markedly from that of the police or other agents who actually enforce it.

      I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this was actually triggered by some lowly employee who'd been told "Don't change the filter! These are the

  • Why ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @11:42AM (#39955111)

    ... does this make me recall the scene with the bridgekeeper at the Bridge of Death in Monty Python's Holy Grail?

    • by MRe_nl ( 306212 )

      Ahmadinejad: How do know so much about anti filtering?
      Ali Khamenei : Well, you have to know these things when you're the Iranian Supreme Leader you know.

  • When policies set by upper management have no effect and the network runs smoothly, upper management takes the credit for the network running smoothly. When those policies, no matter how retarded they are, have a negative effect on network performance, the IT department gets blamed. I don't see how this will be any different in Iran.
  • Once -- just once -- can there be a post about censorship in Country X where the comments are primarily about the censorship in question, and not US policy towards Country X, nor a list of "tu quoque" complaints about the US?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mean, googlebombing your enemy with ridiculously trivial and prolific words so it can't easily be filtered?

    Remember the Grass-mud-horse from China? Same thing.

  • by chrismcb ( 983081 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:15PM (#39961923) Homepage
    Seems like a Clbuttic mistake

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.