National Intranet to offer a ‘cleaner’ alternative.
Just when you thought you’ve heard everything.
In a statement to the International Business Times, Iran has announced that by August they aim to have in place a ‘National Intranet’, which will then permanently replace the country’s Internet access.
Sites such as Yahoo mail and Google will be replaced by ‘Iran Mail’ and ‘Iran Search Engine’ in an effort to provide a “clean internet”. The first phase is said to roll out in May which will block Yahoo, Google, and similar services, followed by a complete blocking of Internet services in August. Iranian ISPs will face heavy penalties if they do not comply with hosting the Intranet. The government will maintain a ‘whitelist’ of sites that will be accessible after August, but it’s clear that outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter won’t be on that list.
The Internet has proven to be an excellent medium for Iranians to voice their opinions on the government through social media and blogs, something that the Iranian government finds a bit too much to handle. While many use proxy servers and VPN services to access blocked content, the government hopes that by implementing the Intranet it will crack down on the thousands of voices who dare to challenge authorities.
It also sets a disturbing example of how far a country’s government might go to ensure that its citizens remain under its watchful eye. Iran has already expressed a desire to ‘export’ its Intranet idea to other interested countries – something that I pray never sees the light of day.