Conflicting reports on how "clean" Iran's internet will be.

Posted: 13 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
International Business Times, 9 Apr 2012, Amrutha Gayathri: "Millions of Internet users in Iran will be permanently denied access to the World Wide Web and cut off from popular social networking sites and email services, as the government has announced its plans to establish a national Intranet within five months. In a statement released Thursday, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced the setting up of a national Intranet and the effective blockage of services like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail, in line with Iran's plan for a 'clean Internet.' The government is set to roll out the first phase of the project in May, following which Google, Hotmail and Yahoo services will be blocked and replaced with government Intranet services like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine."

International Business Times, 10 Apr 2012, Jamie Lewis: the latest statements from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said: 'The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry' and is 'completely baseless', blaming 'the propaganda wing of the West.'"

AFP, 10 Apr 2012: "Iran, however, does have plans to establish a 'national information network' billed as a totally closed system that would function like a sort of intranet for the Islamic republic. ... Iran in any case currently censors millions of websites deemed un-Islamic, and has from time to time imposed temporary additional restrictions."

The Register, 10 Apr 2012, John Leyden: "Unless Iran bans international phone calls then human rights activists could set up an ISP in neighbouring countries that Iran's oppressed population might be able to use, something which happened during the Egyptian Arab Spring protests. In addition, the US is reportedly looking to develop technology for a 'shadow internet' or 'internet in a suitcase' that will enable the creation of an independent connection to the international internet from inside a repressed country, maintaining internet access even if the local government pulls the plug."

Bloomberg Business Week, 11 Apr 2012, John Tozzi: AnchorFree, a "30-employee Mountain View (Calif.) startup makes free virtual private network (VPN) software which Internet users install on their computers to secure their connections and reach websites blocked by censors. ... If Iran does disconnect from the Internet entirely, VPNs would not help, says Eva Galperin, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group in San Francisco that advocates for Internet freedom. 'You simply cannot get out,' she says."

Wall Street Journal, 12 Apr 2012, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz: "Unfortunately, foreign companies have sold [Iran's Revolutionary] Guards the technologies they need to make this oppression possible. ... These systems include hardware and software from some of America's best-known technology companies, including Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Dell, Juniper Networks and Symantec, all of which deny knowledge that their products are being bundled into systems sold to Iran. A Reuters investigation confirmed, however, that these companies' technology was included in these systems. After the Reuters report was published, HP, Dell, Cisco and Juniper said that they were initiating internal investigations."

Reporters sans frontières, 12 Apr 2012: "Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Solimaninya, an Internet and social network expert who has been detained for the past three months and who, according to the information we have obtained, is being pressured to work with the government on the creation of a 'National Internet.'"

FierceGovernmentIT, 12 Apr 2012, David Perera: "A spate of reports suggest now is not a particularly good time for Internet and press freedom in the Middle East and nearby areas."