The days for Internet in Iran seem numbered, as an official statement from the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, Reza Taghipour affirms that by August, millions of Internet users in the country would be cut off the Internet permanently, thereby disconnecting them from services like e-mail, social networking etc. A report by International Business Times confirms that the block on the Internet, will deter a user’s access to popular sites, like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo! and Hotmail, in a bid to facilitate the government’s intention of establishing ‘clean Internet’. The statement cites the government’s decision to resurrect a national intranet by that time. Once the first phase of the project is rolled out next month, the aforementioned sites will be blocked completely for Internet users in Iran and will instead be replaced with government Intranet services like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine. The final phase of this procedure will come in August, which is when the proposed complete block will take effect.
Black out? (Image credit: Getty Images)
Interestingly, the report claims that at least at the moment, the government has not come out clearly on the fate of the websites, other than those listed above, once the block comes to effect. Will Iranians still be able to access those sites, once the block comes to effect is something they would discover only eventually. The government has, in fact started off with the registration to their mail service – Iran Mail. The registration form, like any other requires an applicant to fill out details like their Name, Last Name, National ID, Address, among other details. The registration will be verified only once when the details of the applicant are verified against the government data.
Access to Internet in Iran has always been a controlled domain. The government has always been strict with the norms that defined Internet access in the country. Reports suggest that since control has always been there, the new system in Iran will be similar to the corporate intranet – a system that allows the system administrators to decide the sites users will be able to access, and otherwise. The report further adds that, “Foreign sites can still be accessed over the Intranet provided they are mentioned in a “white list” set up by the government. The government is also believed to be planning for better control on proxy servers which allow users to access banned sites.“
In his statement, last March, Taghipour reportedly had blamed the Internet for “promoting” vices, like crime, disunity, unhealthy moral content, and atheism in the country and that by blocking the Internet, their aim would be to “eliminate the online “scourges.”