On August 30th, Iran announced that it officially completed the first of three stages to launch their own national internet.
Supporters and authorities of the new national Internet–named the National Information Network, claim that it is faster, less costly, and more secure than the World Wide Web. Critics are noting that despite these claims, the main intent to place censorship and control on Iranian internet usage is the main purpose.
The UN has labeled free internet as a basic human right, and this new national internet is directly opposing that, despite any claims on how fast or reliable the new internet is. By forcing Iranians to use the state-controlled internet, freedom is being taken away. When an Iranian IP signs onto the network they can only access specific local content, and global content has to pass filters and be granted special permission by the authorities.
However, before this implementation, things were not much better. The Iranian government, like China, has banned 500 of the most popular websites on the web where controversial topics and news is spread. Without these sites, Iranians cannot access content, and the new national Internet looks to lock down things access even further.
This new national internet now has two more phases, with phase two being launched in February 2016 which ads domestic video content and phase three in March 2016 ads additional services and provides support for companies involved in national trade.
Iran’s history with social networking sites that allow free speech is horrific. Only leaders like Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are allowed to use the platforms since the government cannot trust users to use the platforms responsibility. When asked why he can use Twitter and other users can’t, he replied: “that’s life.”
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