Iran's supreme leader announced the creation of a Supreme Council of Cyberspace meant to protect Iranians from online dangers, as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the effort in a decree released on Wednesday. And you complain you can't illegally download a couple movies.
While the report did not spell out specifically the kind of dangers that the council would tackle, officials have in the past described two separate threats: computer viruses created by Iran's rivals aimed at sabotaging its industry, particularly its controversial nuclear program, and a "culture invasion" aimed at undermining the Islamic Republic. From the Tehran Times:
In the decree, the Leader cited the impact of the World Wide Web on people's social and personal lives, the necessity for planning and coordination in order to protect against the ills of the internet, and the maximum exploitation of the net to provide people with useful and comprehensive services as the main reasons which have necessitated the establishment of the high council of cyberspace.
The cyberspace council will be headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and includes powerful figures in the security establishment such as the intelligence chief, the commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, the country's top police chief, and also includes the speaker of parliament, the director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the minister of science, research, and technology, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance, and several cyber experts.
This is just a further tightening by the regime to control the population, especially after the recent suppression of the green movement. Some officials have even discussed creating Iranian versions of popular global Internet applications that they say are a threat to national security. Iran is planning to launch the first phase of a walled-off national internet by June. It was not fully clear what this plan would entail, but the first step as reported by AP:
Iran's police chief, Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, called Google an "instrument of espionage" rather than a search engine. In its place, Iranian officials have announced that they hope to deploy an indigenous national search engine called "Yahaq," or "Oh Lord" in 2012.
This is all just Farsi code for big steps to defeat the conspiring, imperialistic crusading ways of the big Satan and its even more dastardly Zionist little brother in the war against all things Islam.
Jeff Treesh is @IranAware & iamiranaware.wordpress.com