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The Iranian mullahcracy has made some strange decisions regarding access to information, but if they wanted to alienate their younger generation, they may have hit on the perfect way to do so. Iran's government has banned Internet access speeds above 128 kilobytes per second, roughly equivalent to twice the speed of dial-up, in order to keep Western culture from polluting the Islamic Republic:
Iran's Islamic government has opened a new front in its drive to stifle domestic political dissent and combat the influence of western culture - by banning high-speed internet links.
In a blow to the country's estimated 5 million internet users, service providers have been told to restrict online speeds to 128 kilobytes a second and been forbidden from offering fast broadband packages. The move by Iran's telecommunications regulator will make it more difficult to download foreign music, films and television programmes, which the authorities blame for undermining Islamic culture among the younger generation. It will also impede efforts by political opposition groups to organise by uploading information on to the net.
The order follows a purge on illegal satellite dishes, which millions of Iranians use to clandestinely watch western television. Police have seized thousands of dishes in recent months.
The latest step has drawn condemnation from MPs, internet service companies and academics, who say it will hamper Iran's progress. "Every country in the world is moving towards modernisation and a major element of this is high-speed internet access," said Ramazan-ali Sedeghzadeh, chairman of the parliamentary telecommunications committee. "The country needs it for development and access to contemporary science."
Iran already has an impressive array of assets that block access for their citizens to Western influence. They have more Internet filters than any nation outside of China. Teheran banned satellite dishes recently as well, and had goons patrol the city smashing them wherever they found them. Iran has declared war on information and enlightenment, and this new regulation opens another tactical front on that conflict.
Eventually, people will get frustrated by the oppressive nature of this government, and the younger generation most of all. They did not grow up experiencing the secular autocracy of the Shah; all they know is the mullahcracy. They have seen their access to information slowly choked off. For someone who has grown accustomed to fast access to the Internet, nothing gets more frustrating than a return to dial-up; it will be a constant reminder of their intellectual shackles, and add that much more motivation to free themselves from the rule of the mullahs.
The front line of this battle will be Iranian blogs. Those who have spoken freely about the oppression of the Guardian Council will no doubt have plenty to say about this attempt to silence them through a slow connection.Sphere It View blog reactions
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The Iranian mullahcracy has made some strange decisions regarding access to information, but if they wanted to alienate their younger generation, they may have hit on the perfect way to do so. Iran's government has banned Internet access speeds above [Read More]
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