Cyber-policing and cyber-policy in Iran

Globe with cyber connections


In an annual report released on Monday, the group Reporters Without Borders ranked Iran the number one enemy of the internet in 2012. It was ahead of 11 other countries — including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, China and Belarus — that the group says restrict internet access, filter content and imprison bloggers.

While there is bias in Gulfnews’s reporting – it is a media outlet for the UAE, who have an ambiguous relationship to Iran – the crackdown on Iranian cyber-life  is no fiction and gives lie to the government’s desire to see its population advance in the field of science.

The Internet is full of filth, of that there is no doubt; it is a shame, and future generations may come to look upon our age as majorly depraved.

Nevertheless, the Internet is now an indispensable tool for the advancement of knowledge, communication and commerce. Even here there is a downside: some significant elements of the global economic downturn are a result of the Internet economy, being a plain example of the closure of shops because of digital commerce.

Despite elements that are negative,, to complete the example, has brought positive things to people’s lives as well.

There is huge potential for altruism, scientific break-throughs, cultural exchanges using the Web. It is a pity that the government of Iran are locking their people in, keeping them away from advances in the world beyond their borders.  The irony is that if Israel do attack the country, the common people will have no resources, no media to voice their grievances against Israel.

Deeper thinking about the Internet, its uses and abuses, is needed.

I am seriously mulling over trying to hold an Internet symposium on the possible Israeli attack on  Iran. I would invite eight experts with a wide range of views to discuss the matter using Skype or Google+ or some form of video-conferencing. I would welcome all voices because peace is the aim. The human family should count its blessings now that it has such marvelous technologies. But instead of sharing, it seems bent on nurturing its self-destructive streak.

I am not anti-Israel by any means and I have a deep respect for Judaism. I strongly feel, however, that Israel’s attack on Iran would serve no one, not even Israel. It would lead to unprecedented conflict, destabilizing Saudi Arabia and the whole Gulf region.

In the short term the rise in oil prices would destabilize many nations and there would be local wars. The fallout from Libya has been the destabilization of Mali, that is a comparatively small example of concatanative effects from conflict.

World War III  or some other apocalyptic scenario could arise from an attack on Iran. Perhaps there is so much hubris that many are blind to nemesis. Perhaps the Military-Industrial Complex in the West sees that there is too much to gain despite the losses and the recession that has come about as a consequence of the invasion of Iraq. I tend to think it is an example of shame and pride. A red-faced loser who is still standing has two choices: to say sorry and walk away or to carry on striking in the hope that his second wave of action will cover up the shame of losing in the first wave.

This time, though, the stakes are simply too high, not only because of the destabilization of Saudi Arabia but the entrance of Pakistan into the equation. In the broader theatre of the Middle East two countries have significant nuclear arms capabilities: Israel and Pakistan.


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