At least it can’t happen here. Right?
Iran is mounting new clampdowns on Internet expression, including rules that will impose layers of surveillance in the country’s popular Internet cafes, as Tehran’s political establishment comes under increasing strains from economic turmoil and threats of more international sanctions.
In the most sweeping move, Iran issued regulations giving Internet cafes 15 days to install security cameras, start collecting detailed personal information on customers and document users’ online footprints.
Until now, Iran’s cybercafes have been a youth-culture mainstay of most towns and neighborhoods, used not only by activists but also by other Iranians who believe the security of their home computers is already compromised.
Iranian users also have reported more blocked sites this week, as well as new barriers to accessing social-networking services. Internet connections, too, have bogged down.
The network slowdown likely heralds the arrival of an initiative Iran has been readying—a “halal” domestic intranet that it has said will insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet. This week’s slowdown came amid tests of the Iranian intranet, according to domestic media reports that cited a spokesman for a union of computer-systems firms. He said the intranet is set to go live within a few weeks.
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