Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New and unimproved internet

From The Guardian:
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 ill make it more difficult to download foreign music, films and television programmes, which the authorities blame for undermining Islamic culture among the younger eneration. 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 nternet access," said Ramazan-ali Sedeghzadeh, chairman of the parliamentary telecommunications committee. "The country needs it for development and access to contemporary science."

And the Arab world wonders why Israel and the West have all passed them. It is their unwillingess to modernize--relgious views, economics, technology, culture etc. etc.

A petition branding the high-speed ban as "backward and unprincipled" bearing more than 1,000 signatures is to be sent to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Scores of websites and blogs are censored using hi-tech US-made filtering equipment. Iran filters more websites than any other country apart from China. High-speed links can be used with anti-filtering devices to access filtered sites.

Companies providing this sort of filtering software should be punished. Yea, yea free market, capitalism and all that. I don't care. The way we "win the hearts and minds" of our enemies is not to sell them our goods--particularly if the goods are used to keep our influence out. The way to 'win hearts and minds' is through selling them--or just giving them via the internet--our ideas. In today's world, that can't be done without high-speed internet access.



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