Iran to create its own Internet... Part 1 - gHacks Tech News

Iran to create its own Internet... Part 1

The Internet is a fascinating place, especially when countries that don't embrace the concepts of freedom of expression and freedom of speech are involved. Each of these countries takes it's own view of what the Internet should be, and they usually follow political conventions in those countries. This could be set to change however.

Iran looks set to create its own Internet, just for the Iranian people. In a report by the Wall Street Journal the country sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet and, possibly, a way to defend the regime against the pro-democracy protests that have spread like wildfire across the middle-east this year.

On that score it would make sense in some ways as social networks including Facebook and especially Twitter were used to help mobilise pro-democracy activists and get people massing on the streets. This move would essentially cut the whole of Iran off from the wider Internet and indeed the wider-world.

Now I said that the way curtailing of Internet freedoms happens usually mirrors the political conventions of the country involved. This is probably going to be seen as an unexpected twist.

China, the world's largest communist state has broadly allowed access to the general Internet. It took some years to get this far and many websites are still curtailed or blocked completely. The Chinese government are part of the wider world community however and while questions still remain about the country's Human rights record, it does at least recognise that opening up to the wider world can only be a good thing.

It's China that has been apparently encouraging the secretive leader of North Korea, Kim Yong Il, to open up his own economy, an idea that has so far failed to gain acceptance.

internetNorth Korea is far more closed and secretive than China, and is the most closed society on Earth. It's widely accepted that only supporters of the regime are permitted to live in the country's capital city, and footage has been seen of entire villages being forced to watch the public floggings and sometimes executions of those to question the regime.

North Korea has not embraced the Internet. Instead they have their own internal network, a country-wide intranet if you will. This system is available on the only computer operating system available in the country, a modified version of Linux. It is extremely limited and delivers only propaganda about the state. To this day, most people in North Korea live their lives completely oblivious to what's really happening in the world around them.

Iran however by contrast is a democracy. Its leaders are elected officials. There have been questions raised about just how democratic the country's political system truly is but you might expect them to adopt a stance more in keeping with China, not the secretive North Koreans.

The answer probably lies in the recent uprisings in the countries around them and the fact that only around 10% of the Iranian people currently have access to the Internet. This move is clearly all about control.

This does raise some interesting questions about what the Internet currently is and what is might be set to become. I'll talk more about this tomorrow in Part 2 when I'll look at the challenges faced by western countries.

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:

Comments

  1. Grammar Nazi said on May 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    “its own Internet”, not “it’s own Internet”.

  2. nm said on May 29, 2011 at 12:35 am

    im from Latvia and i say: DOWN WITH THE USA!

    1. Sammy said on May 29, 2011 at 1:26 am

      Hey Latvia,

      Down with the U.S? Can you imagine China, Iran or North Korea controlling the Internet? Some of you people crack me up with our blind hatred of the U.S. Be careful what you wish for

    2. Crodol said on May 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

      I agree! Down with the evil empire!

  3. Ashley Pearson said on May 29, 2011 at 12:54 am

    It is going to be very interesting to see how this one develops.

  4. Jack said on May 29, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I’m no admirer of Iran, or any state that bases its culture and law on fundamentalist religion. But the worst offenders these days are surely the USA and Israel. I might also count the UK were it not for the fact that we suffer, not from religious excess, but from abject cowardice in the face of American pressure.

    But before we lambast Iran we should look at our own record. I’m old enough (just!) to remember WW2. During and after defeating the Third Reich we wondered how people could descend to such animal brutality.

    We little thought back then that our own western culture could descend to arrest without due process, contant erosion of civil rights – even the casual acceptance of torture and rendition. In many respects WE are now the Fourth Reich. How could they do it then? Well – how can we do it now?

    In the UK and USA we’ve been cynically and methodically lied to for the last 2 decades (though to be fair mostly because we wanted it so). How is that different to Iran, other than in our illusion of a non-existant freedom?

    Let’s put our own house in order before we accuse others of suborning the information process. I don’t like what’s happening in Iran. I like what’s happening in the West even less – if only because by now we have no excuse for not knowing better.

    1. boris said on May 29, 2011 at 3:06 am

      Did you check lately what is happening in Syria, Egypt, Lybia and half of Central African countries? Are you so liberally-biased and anti-Semitic that you can not open your eyes?

      Also, to the owner of website, these kind of posts will bring people like that and will bring arguments like that. I am trying not to call this poster names he deserves.

  5. axis of evil strike back said on May 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

    oh no geeks are doing “subtle” political analysis again ! Iran, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Belarus… axis of evil anyone ? Please go back to virtually slaughter irakis in CoD and fap watching “surgical” bombings for democracy on TV and don’t even try to understand the world…

    Israel is fiercely against arab revolutions (especially in Egypt) because it knows dictatorship like Mubarak, Jordan and saudi arabia’s king etc are its only allies in the region…. US and its european vassals are trying to be more subtle by neutralizing the movements strong antizionist aspect with money while sustaining dictatorship in Bahrain, trying to loot libyan oil and to destabilize Syria, we’ll see what will happen…

  6. oss said on May 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I think that the worst offender of democracy is the person who does not respect democracy of other people and states.
    People saying “the country sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet and, possibly, a way to defend the regime against the pro-democracy protests” must explain why they call “regime” a legitimate government” and “pro-democracy protests” a coup attempt where a very minority of people would destroy the democratic choice of more than 60% of Iranian voters.
    I have a dream. I dream a day where such pseudo-democratic people living in America will see millions of american citizens, mobilised by Facebook, recently acquired by China, and Twitter, recently acquired by Russia, demonstrate against racism, lack of social justice, social discrimination and a poor, empty and formal democracy with no real meaning in their country. But I doubt they will be ashamed.

  7. Jack said on May 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    @boris…

    Liberally-biased? Has that now become a failing? I plead guilty – and at least don’t begrudge others their very right to speak.

    And as for anti-semitic – since when did anti-zionism equate to anti-semitism, other than with Israeli government lobbyists? There are quite a few Jewish people you’d better explain that to – not every Jew is a Zionist.

    What’s happening is Iran is not acceptable. But civil rights have been steadily eroded in western countries in far more subtle ways for many years – open YOUR eyes.

    1. Mike Halsey (MVP) said on May 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      Alas, people are talking about anti-semetism so I will have to close the comments on this article.

      We do ask everybody to continue to be respectful to the cultures and beliefs of others.