It’s like saying the forest would be nice if only there weren’t so many trees. It seems the Iranian authorities like the internet, it’s just too bad about all these various opinions floating around.
Now it seems the Iranian government is more determined than ever to solve this “problem” with the internet, with reports claiming a new, private network being in the works. Iranian authorities are already pretty good at censoring the internet, but it looks like they may be considering taking it one more step and pulling the plug on the world wide web altogether. Enter then the Iranian Wide Web – a new and clean version controlled by the government.
The national internet will be “a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level,” said Iran’s head of economic affairs, Ali Aghamohammadi, according to a state-run news service. In a longer article on internet use in the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal explains how the new network would operate alongside the normal internet at first, and big institutions such as banks, government ministries and large companies would continue to have access to the regular Internet.
But eventually, said Aghamohammadi, the national network could replace the global internet in Iran, as well as in other Muslim countries.
In addition to the obvious issues of censorship and freedom of speech, this plan has a number of wrinkles for business operations too. It’s getting difficult to conduct international business without the internet, and it remains to be seen if this is a sacrifice worth making. However, Iranian top officials have called the western influence coming via the internet cables a “soft war”. The solution may be allowing businesses access to the global internet, while having a controlled version for the people.