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Iran Plans To Unplug the Internet, Launch Its Own 'Clean' Alternative 301

suraj.sun writes "Iran topped a recent list of repressive regimes that most aggressively restrict Internet freedom. The list, published by Reporters Without Borders, is a part of the 2012 edition of the organization's Enemies of the Internet report. One of the details addressed in that report is the Iranian government's bizarre plan to create its own 'clean' Internet. The proposed system, an insular nation-wide intranet that is isolated from the regular Internet, will be heavily regulated by the government. In addition to developing its own Intranet system, the Iranian government is also creating its own custom email service and a national search engine called Ya Haq (Oh Just One) that is intended to replace Google. In order to obtain an account on the state-approved mail service, users will have to register their identity with the government." The "clean Internet" part, at least, was also mentioned earlier this year; Iran is one of the recurring champions when it comes to such dubious honors.
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Iran Plans To Unplug the Internet, Launch Its Own 'Clean' Alternative

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  • Please fix summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by WhatAreYouDoingHere ( 2458602 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:56AM (#39632015)

    the organization's,42061.htmlEnemies [] of the Internet report.

    For those who can't use copy/paste - Enemies of the Internet [] report.

    • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:04PM (#39633209)

      Thanks for that link, if people have not stopped to read it.. shame on you. If you have, welcome to the real world. The only way for us to maintain some semblance of freedom is to be vocal when things are being done to stifle that freedom. Stop SOPA is a prime example of what needs to be happening. Sadly, companies like Wiki and Google can't do that crap every friggin day. It's up to us, the Netizens of the world, to educate and inform everyone around us.

      I know, most of you /.ers do that anyway right?

      off my soap box, carry on with your day.

      • I think you mean CISPA [] now? In case you missed it, they are trying to shove copyright and patent enforcement into National Security and/or defense.

      • I'd go for a hybrid approach of political and technological activism. Fight all you can to stop the oppressive laws... but be prepared to lose, and make sure that if the laws do pass they are very hard to enforce.
        • The regime banned satellite TV more tan a decade ago, but every Iranian city-dweller from Yazd to Tabriz watches the latest MadMen and Big Bang episodes, from a dish on their roof. Yes, the CNN and BBC domestic propaganda feeds are avidly consumed, too.

          Whooh! Feel the rush of democracy, flooding over the airwaves! The mullahs have little to fear from regular Internet access, either. Given the alternatives of being a US/Israel bitch, like Turkey - or going with their local brand of bastardry - Iranians wi

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        "Stop SOPA is a prime example of what needs to be happening"

        Stop SOPA is also a prime example of why the report is largely a load of tosh. For some reason the US got a free ride, despite the fact it's been implementing global censorship of the whole net through ICE domain seizures, attempting to silence sites like Wikileaks by pressuring the likes of Visa, Mastercard, Paypal et. al. to cut off funding routes, and coming a little to close to bringing in things like SOPA et. al.

        It's great it brings to light t

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:57AM (#39632025)
    You never should have built this thing with a single power plug! Redundant power sources I told you!
  • Conservatism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:58AM (#39632045)

    ... taken to its logical conclusion.

    And the Iranians have only themselves to blame for fostering and tolerating religious and political extremism in their midst.

    America, take note.

    • Re:Conservatism (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:22PM (#39632455)

      Conservatism taken to its logical conclusion

      It's been my experience that it's people on the progressive left that show the strongest instinct to disallow the use of certain words, to ban the discussion of awkward moments in history, and to use the power of the state to dictate which world view everyone should have. You know, total tolerance, except for the things they don't like, for which there is zero tolerance.

      Religious wackadoos may have some born-of-ignorance cultural hurdles to overcome (thanks, parents!), but the supposedly very educated lefty progressive types exhibit a pretty disturbing interest in top-down, society-comes-from-the-government policies. Conservatives want less of that, progressives want more of it. When you see totalitarian operations like Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc., it's not the conservative embrace of a constitutional republic's checks and balances that come to mind.

      • Re:Conservatism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:45PM (#39632871)
        Sorry, but in this case we're definitely talking religious social conservatives here. Now obviously the social conservatives in places like Iran are a lot more extreme than the ones we typically find in the US, but they're still coming from the conservative side of things, as they're attempting to rule by a set of ancient religious laws that are designed in part to stifle progression and return life to a time long ago (that probably never existed) when society was morally pure.

        The words "conservative" and "liberal" mean different things in different contexts and in relation to different countries and political systems, and mean even more different things when you throw in the differences between social, fiscal, and general governmental policies. A conservative in Iran is not the same as a conservative in the US, so there's really no need to take offense if you identify as a conservative and that word is used as a pejorative when describing a group in a different country and culture.
        • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:29PM (#39633693)
          US Conservatives and Wahabi-style Islamists have common ground: all women are sluts and must have every facet of their lives controlled by men.
        • Re:Conservatism (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:59PM (#39634241) Homepage Journal

          I never could understand how a Christian (not other religions, obviously) can be a conservative. Conservatives are against taxes, Christ said "pay your taxes". Conservatives are gun-toting self defensers, Christ said "he who lives by the weapon, dies by the weapon". Conservative means stingy, liberal means generous. Christ was for generosity. Conservatives are intolerant, Christians hate the sin but love the sinner. A Christian may try to talk a gay man out of committing homosexual acts, a conservative would like to see him in jail or dead. When prohibition was instituted it was the conservatives who fought for that change (oh, the hypocricy!) while liberals fought for prohibition's overthrow. Christ said to the church officials "John the Baptists came neither eating or drinking and you say it means he had a devil, the son of man comes eating and drinking and you call him a glutton and winebibber." Conservatives are against aid to the poor (but seem to have no problem with aid to the rich) while Christians hate to see people go hungry. Conservatives hate homeless people, Jesus WAS a homeless person.

          I don't think conservatives even read the bibles they thump.

          • by hazah ( 807503 )
            They didn't. Most bible thumpers have no clue about the actual content.
        • Re:Conservatism (Score:4, Informative)

          by tendrousbeastie ( 961038 ) <andy&tendrousbeastie,com> on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @02:24PM (#39634695) Homepage

          "The words "conservative" and "liberal" mean different things in different contexts"

          One thing definitely to keep in mind, in Britain and most of Europe 'liberal' means a different thing than it does in America - It focuses on the John Stuart Mill version: it tends to mean a focus on individual liberty, freedom from state interference, 'that government governs best which governs least' type of thing..

      • Re:Conservatism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:54PM (#39633043)

        disallow the use of certain words, to ban the discussion of awkward moments in history, and to use the power of the state to dictate which world view everyone should have

        I don't think this is a left or a right thing, just a person thing.

        Disallow certain words? For every left-winger pushing the newest thing to call blacks or midgets, there is a right-winger burning offensive classical literature.

        Awkward moments in history? For every useless sidebar in a history book extolling the role of some obscure woman in order to make the book more diverse, you have a dumbing-down of the causes of the US Civil War so that it seems like the South wasn't essentially fighting for slavery.

        Power of the state? For every gay equality law there is a school board trying to define science as "whatever the bible says".

        It's annoying no matter who is doing it - if you ask me, the left and the right wingers have gone far enough to meet each other on the other side of reality.

        • disallow the use of certain words, to ban the discussion of awkward moments in history, and to use the power of the state to dictate which world view everyone should have


          It's annoying no matter who is doing it - if you ask me, the left and the right wingers have gone far enough to meet each other on the other side of reality.

          I couldn't agree more. Arguing over which extreme is worse is like arguing about which turd smells worse. Either one in a punch bowl will ruin the party just the same.

      • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:03PM (#39633203)

        You've been listening to too much propaganda. Here in reality, elected conservatives have never held back from expanding the role of government when given the chance to do so. It's what politicians do. They see it as their job.

        In the USA left and right both have zero tolerance for the practices of those they perceive as their cultural enemies. Conservatives lead the charge to persecute artists, flag burners and gays, liberals lead the charge to persecute gun owners and racial separatists. Both sides are willing to trample individuals at the drop of a hat - remember, we're talking about reality here, not rhetoric. Conservatives and liberals all voted for the orwellian Patriot Act.

        If you believe in the right to own military-grade weapons, but you aren't a racist; and you think abortion kills an unborn child, yet still should be safe and legal, and you think the tax code should be progressive and tax-free institutions should not be allowed to sponsor foreign nations; and you think the government should return to strictly limiting the terms of existence for corporations and intellectual property, there is no party for you.

      • Re:Conservatism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:08PM (#39633299) Journal
        I think you find that totalitarians of any political bent are the ones who want "top-down, society-comes-from-the-government policies. " Yes, in America the liberal whackjobs are more likely to call for totalitarianism. However, when it comes to actual government leaders and what it is that they actually do with their power, I think you will find very little difference between "liberal" and "conservative" in the march towards increasing government control. They only differ on the route they take, supposed liberals take the welfare/healthcare/gun-control route while supposed conservatives take the military/DHS/War-on-Drugs route. The "conservative embrace of a constitutional republic's checks and balances" is only embraced by the conservative voters, not the people they elect to represent them. Ron Paul being the exception that proves it. Look to effect of the NDAA 2012 combined with the Enemy Expatriation Act and the level of bi-partisan support for those Constitution destroying bills.
        • Totalitarianism is a politically loaded synonym for "Unity". Unity is what democracy is supposed to create. Show me a man who opposes totalitarianism, and I'll show you a man who dreams of his own plantation full of slaves.

          • "Unity" is also a really crappy user interface.

          • Hello, I'm a man who opposes totalitarianism. I suspect I oppose 'unity' too, but I need it to be defined.

            I think you are making a serious point, so I ask if you could elaborate on your first sentence "Totalitarianism is a politically loaded synonym for 'Unity'". What does Unity mean in this context?

      • If someone points out that people who use certain words in certain ways are racist, that does not count as censorship, despite what they tell you to think on FOX News. You know what else? Pointing out that someone has said something racist is not "exactly as bad" as, say, arresting filmmakers for the crime of presenting opposing points of view.
        • What are you babbling about?

          Who said anything about "pointing out" things? I'm talking about banning speech.
      • This has nothing to do with Left/Right politics, and everything to do with Authority/Liberty politics. You're arguing about the wrong political axis. Here's a quiz and chart that explains this. []

      • Social conservatives and political conservatives are not the same thing. While political conservatives do indeed oppose censorship, the social ones are happy to cheer it on whenever something they find distasteful is being censored. The factions are forced together by the two-party nature of US politics, but beyond that really have little in common.
    • America, take note.

      Note taken. Please refer to our presedential candidates to see our progress.

  • Simple to do ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:58AM (#39632061) Homepage

    ... just cut the international trunks. What will be more interesting is if they start to use duplicated IPv4 address space, or continue the move to IPv6. The "Iranian Spring" will come, and this action is likely to speed that up. Then it will get connected back to the world, again.

    Of course, someone will still set up some secret gateways.

    • Re:Simple to do ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:02PM (#39632123)

      The "Iranian spring" already came. It started the whole protest cascade in the middle east. It was called the green revolution, and it was crushed without mercy.

      • Unless and until Iranians are willing to apply the level of utter dedication and ruthless violence required, they will remain slaves.

        The only good Mullah is a dead one. Persians should remember Islam was inflicted on them by conquest, and reject it.

        Kill your Mullahs, burn the mosques, shit on the Quran and take back your country!

        • Not all Iranians want the revolution, though. Ahmadinejad and mullahs have a strong backing, as well - mostly it's liberal urban folk that are for the revolution, and conservative rural folk that enjoy the "religious revival" with complimentary hanging of homosexuals. And the catch is that conservatives are much more ready and willing to use violence to achieve their political goal than liberals.

        • Kill your Mullahs, burn the mosques, shit on the Quran

          Yes, a totally reasonable act.

    • There already is one... [] Almost anyone has the capability of establishing a separate internet. The United States government has several, separated by airgap/encryption. It is trivial to make one, however, just because they build it, will anyone come?
      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

        Except that in this case the government will mandate that all of the service providers switch to this new internet, no matter bad a plan that is.

        With iran it will be interesting to see just how this 'whitelist' works, and what their neighbours will do. They share borders with armenia, azerbaijan, turkey, iraq, pakistan, turkmenistan, afghanistan, and they're very close to kuwait, bahrain, the emirates, saudi, and oman. Several of those are essentially in the back pocket of anti-iranian governments, so we

      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        There already is one... []

        That's not "another internet", any more than any Tier 1 Network is (or something like JANet, which is exactly the same but in the UK).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      revolution is not inevitable

      look at north korea: a committed government, with enough fanatics at its disposal, will turn their country into a prison. revolution becomes difficult to muster. outside force is required to make real change

      this is what happens if you defy the regime in Iran: []

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Brian Feldman ( 350 )
        Kinda like the US Government: PIPA, SOPA, NDAA, CISPA, starting random wars with other countries, the War on Drugs, the War on the Fourth Amendment (illegal "border" searches on interstates 100 miles from any border the country has), the War on Agriculture, the War on Sick People (our health care system)....
      • by chonglibloodsport ( 1270740 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @02:04PM (#39634317)

        North Korea exists only with the support of outside nations. It is not a self-sustaining regime.

  • by pne ( 93383 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:00PM (#39632095) Homepage

    At first I thought that “Oh Just One” referred to the fact that there can be only one search engine (as in “there can be just one”), but I’m fairly sure it means “O Just One” in the sense of a person who is just, based on my limited Arabic.

    • Specifically, I believe "Just One" is one of the epithets of Allah.

    • by pluther ( 647209 )
      Don't they speak Persian in Iran, though?

      Also, depending on how it's spelled, "Ya haq" (in Arabic) can also be translated as "Not truth", which is a great name for state-supplied information.

      • by narcc ( 412956 )

        Yes, Iranians are Persians (and rather proud of that). They speak Farsi (Persian) which is an arabicized version of Parsi.

      • by pne ( 93383 )

        Don't they speak Persian in Iran, though?

        They do, but Persian has a ton of Arabic loanwords. Sort of like how knowing French (or Spanish or Italian) will let you understand many words in English. (Or for some kinds of vocabulary, knowing Greek, especially in medicine and philosophy.)

  • by macromorgan ( 2020426 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:01PM (#39632109)
    Oh, Just One. It's right there in the name.
  • Good luck unplugging The Internet considering that it is wireless and sits atop Big Ben!

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:03PM (#39632151)

    Persia OnLine.

    ("Anti-America OnLine" may be too obvious.)

  • Sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McGruber ( 1417641 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:07PM (#39632235)

    The proposed system, an insular nation-wide intranet that is isolated from the regular Internet, will be heavily regulated by the government. In addition to developing its own Intranet system, the Iranian government is also creating its own custom email service and a national search engine

    So it is the Iranian version of Facebook.

  • This is the best possible news for freedom in the here in the US. What? You want to cut off parts of the internet, why that would make us just like Iran! We can't have that! Harumph! Harumph! Harumph! Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!

    • "Hey, we didn't get a 'harumph' outta that guy!"
      "Harumph!! Harumph!!"
      "You better watch your ass!!"
    • by pluther ( 647209 )
      It's a nice idea, but it doesn't seem to work for so many other things people in this country fight for:

      Who else makes burning sacred symbols illegal?
      Who else has mandatory prayer in schools?
      Who else has religious stories taught as equivalent to science?
      Who else spends taxpayer money on monuments to a specific religion?

      Yeah, you'd think pointing out to the theocrats that Iran is already their ideal state would shame them into stopping, but it never does...

  • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:12PM (#39632315) Journal
    As far as a "clean" internet goes it does have some merit. The real internet is 35% porn. []It is defensible to want a cleaner, walled garden version of it. Maybe Iran could just use AOL.
    • I would have agreed with you a little while ago, but now we have the xxx TLD, which should get rid of that useless 65% if you stick to just the one TLD.

    • I am amused by how easily I got a "troll" rating for a post that spoke jokingly in favor of internet censorship.
  • by vawwyakr ( 1992390 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:15PM (#39632347)
    Come relax, talk amongst I'll give you topic, "My neighbor is a dissident and here is his address"
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:15PM (#39632351)

    Police states should abandon all pretenses of being anything but police states. There are too many simple people that don't know a duck even if it's quacking in front of them so long as it's wearing a little badge that says "republic". Why Iran has any credibility in the international community is owed only to greed (for the oil), ignorance, and the naive belief that psychopathic messianic dictatorships can be reformed with kind words.

    I'm not saying we go to war with them. I'm just saying you treat them like what they are and always will be. If they want to dominate what little freedom remains in their nation by creating some hyper controlled internet, then all the better.

    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stanlyb ( 1839382 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @12:25PM (#39632509)
      I am always amazed at how the "good" guys are so willing to fight and kill and torture and steal, while the "bad" guys want only one thing, to be left alone. Amazing, ain't so?
      • Which bad people only wish to be left alone? If is you say Iran, then you're apparently unaware of their funding of international terrorism or obvious other aggressive actions.

        The country makes official statements of their intent to commit genocide on a regular basis. So if your argument is seriously that Iran is just a misunderstood fluffy kitten then you've smoked yourself retarded.

    • by ediron2 ( 246908 )

      Police states should abandon all pretenses of being anything but police states. There are too many simple people that don't know a duck even if it's quacking in front of them so long as it's wearing a little badge that says "republic".

      So, not to get all shades of grey on you, but... uh... (looks around)... are WE a police state?

      You'll have to speak up, I can't hear you over all this quackish squawking.

      • You're quiet right, we're about .000001 percent a police state. Very apt point.

        *hands out gold star for irrelevant observations*

        Do you have a real argument or is that all you've got?

  • Start calling their representatives in the democratic Parliament? Probably not. Liberty dies when people just don't care (ref: EU states Greece, Italy and the U.S.).

    • For starters, Iran doesn't really have a democratic parliament, given that all candidates are vetted by the Guardian Council.

      In any case, 2/3 of the Iranian parliament are conservatives, who are pushing for all these laws, so it doesn't really matter.

    • All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

      -- Thomas Jefferson

  • I can't see how anarcho libertarian fascists like Glenn Greenwald who openly shill for the Iranian regime tolerating this outwardly. Oh they'll say it's wonderful but how they do their work and earn their pay relies on communicating with the regime.

  • They are going to build their own Internet, with ... wait! What?
  • Get "first post" on the new Iranian combination Internet/Facebook/Koran service.

  • Probably less spam then I'm getting now. And at least I'll KNOW where it's coming from...
  • Will forcing users to register email addresses fix the issue of spam in my inbox? I can't see too many Nigerian princes being able to get an account.
  • After Stuxnet they don't want to get hacked again.

  • by one_who_uses_unix ( 68992 ) <glen.wiley @ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:04PM (#39633219) Homepage

    I think it is silly for any government to do something like sensor "the internet" - but is what Iran does in their country my business?

    I find it amusing that we (the US in my case) often feel we have a right to tell other countries how to govern themselves, how to run their industry, how to run their elections, etc. Where does any country get off thinking it can tell another country what to do? I am not defending the criminal heads of state - just saying that we wouldn't take kindly to another country deciding how things should work in the US, deciding who they would allow to serve in elected office etc.

    When will people realize that we need to leave people alone. If the Iranians want a different government then it is up to them to make one. Every single time the US tries to force other countries to behave it results in piles of corpses and enormous debt and a giant dose of hate directed at the US by BOTH sides of the conflict in the foreign country.

    • Granted, many of your points about the US are correct.

      However, in issues of the internet, we do have a problem, in that every petty dictator wants control over it. Their MO is fairly standard -> section themselves off, so that they can 'fix' things. In reality, they section off only the non-elite among their populace, allowing the elite to continue to access the global internet (for business / intelligence / whatever, but in reality, you just made access to a common resource a perk of being connected). W

      • In this case Iran isn't trying to control the internet, they are choosing to unplug themselves (or parts of their populate). I say that is a problem for Iran, not the rest of the world. I don't want anyone telling me what to do with my "intertubes" and I don't want to tell other countries what to do with their intertubes. Now, if an elected official in the US tried a stunt like that I would be all over that like a hobo on a ham sandwich - but the US is MY country.

        I don't like the idea of fetters of any k

  • As if radio waves had borders...

  • by FridayBob ( 619244 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:10PM (#39633359) Homepage

    Imagine being an Iranian open source guy and then being cut off from the rest of your community. Perhaps Apple and Microsoft will have solutions for using their operating systems in that environment, but otherwise it seems to me that cutting itself off from the Internet is a good way to take Iran back to the 1980s. In the end, however, I think there will be something for all of us to learn from this cruel experiment as well. That's why other countries that live with despotic regimes and/or severe restrictions (e.g. Saudi Arabia) will be watching with interest.

    PS -- By the way, this is another good reason for the US and/or Israel not to attack Iran. They're so busy making life miserable for themselves that eventually their theocratic government is bound to fall due to another popular uprising. If they are attacked from the outside, however, it will only serve to make the theocrats stronger.

  • only Biggerer and run by religious whackjobs. I don't see the problem here. Except for the religious whackjobs part. And the AOL part. And the 1991 thing.

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