Friday, February 21, 2014

China's Export To Iran: 'Clean Internet'

(Pic courtesy US News & World Report)


In a perceptive blog post Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president of the New York-based Freedom House wrote March 2013 how “Authoritarian regimes around the world are exporting their worst practices and working together to repress their own citizens and undermine human rights standards internationally.”

He went on to say that although interactions between regimes are largely opaque, methods of repression are replicated in dictatorial regimes and “direct assistance is provided across borders to crack down on dissent, and joint efforts are made to chip away at international protections for fundamental freedoms.”


Among the areas in which dictatorships cooperate said Calingeart is through technology export.

“China has set the standard for sophisticated methods of control over the internet and actively exports technology for monitoring digital communications. It has reportedly supplied telephone and internet surveillance technology to Iran and Ethiopia and provided several Central Asian governments with telecommunications infrastructure that may increase their ability to spy on their own citizens.”

In an article on February 12, in The US News and World Report, Mark Eades said that Iran had announced recently that it had received Chinese help “to implement its closed ‘National Information Network’ or ‘clean Internet.’”

“For advocates of global Internet freedom, this is international cooperation of the worst kind imaginable. Iran already exercises strict Internet control, including censoring and filtering websites, limiting Internet speed, surveillance of Internet users and state-sponsored hacking. Unsatisfied even with this level of control over Internet use, however, Iran seeks to implement its own closed ‘national Internet’ or ‘clean Internet.’ Such a system already exists in North Korea, almost certainly developed with Chinese help given North Korea's dependence on China,” writes Eades.

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