Iran expands smart censorship

Achaemenid_Elite_ImmortalsThe former religiously tolerant Achaemenid empire, which became the religiously less tolerant Sassanid Empire before becoming the cross-eyed religiously intolerant Iran wants to expand its policy of “smart filtering” of the Internet.

For those who came in late, the Iranians have a policy of censoring undesirable content on websites without banning them completely.

The policy appears to follow President Hassan Rouhani’s push to loosen some social restrictions, but it was not clear if it would mean more or less internet freedom. Iranians on Twitter expressed concern that, as part of the new policy, the government would try to block VPN access to such sites.

Communications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi said  that this smart filtering plan is implemented only on one social network in its pilot study phase and this process will continue gradually until the plan is implemented on all networks.

He appeared to be referring to Instagram, the photo-sharing site owned by Facebook, which is already being filtered, but not blocked.

“Implementing the smart filtering plan, we are trying to block the criminal and unethical contents of the Internet sites, while the public will be able to use the general contents of those sites,” Vaezi told a news conference.

The policy would be fully in place by June 2015, he said.

What they are after is snaps of porn to images of women not wearing the mandatory Islamic dress as well is politically damaging comments.

The Iranian government has been worried by the rise of social media.  It was used in the anti-government protests of 2009 to organise and spread news about a movement that was eventually crushed by security forces.

Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, floated the idea of replacing the unternet with a national intranet that would not be connected to the worldwide web, however that seemed a little too silly to fly.