Iran's Latest Move To Stifle Dissent: Requiring ID Cards To Go Online

from the dangerous-ideas dept

For a while, Techdirt has been tracking Iran's continuing efforts to throttle its citizens' access to troublesome materials online. These have included blocking all audio and video files, and even shutting down Gmail, albeit temporarily. But stopping people accessing sites in this way is not the only approach. Here's another, from a report by Der Spiegel (original in German):
Iran's government is introducing a biometric ID card that will function at the same time as an access card to the Web. Without registration via "smart card" the Internet will be blocked for citizens -- an insidious strategy for monitoring the opposition on the Internet.
All Iranians over the age of 14 will be required to have one of these new ID cards, which will store a digitised fingerprint and other personal information in an encrypted form. Once these cards are ubiquitous in the offline world, it's only a short step to require them to be used everywhere in the online world too, which would effectively abolish all anonymity and privacy there.

Iran's latest move is a useful reminder that wherever they are used, ID cards or their equivalent can become powerful enabling tools for perfect online surveillance. Other oppressive regimes will doubtless be watching the Iran experience closely.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:10am

    As useful as trying to stop setboxes cards from being cloned.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    arcan, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:17am

    Re:

    But can you settle your problems by using them in a children's card game?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re:

    What problems?

    A police state that wants to see everything I do?
    I could do that!

    Children cards games + steganography = awesome bypass.

    You can even do it on Facebook, you can put encrypted messages or hidden encrypted messages right there and only the people with the keys will be able to read it.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:41am

    How long before the US and UK go down this road? I suspect it is already in the works and our governments are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:56am

    Business?

    How will visiting foriegn businessmen, academics, etc access the internet? Isn't this going to be either
    a) Full of holes
    or
    b) Effectively cutting Iran off from economic and cultiral development.
    or
    c) Both of the above.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Call me Al, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:59am

    Re:

    "For the children..."

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 2:31am

    i can hear Congress etc now 'WOW! That's a brilliant idea! We can track everyone doing everything! Who wants to be the sponsor, then?'

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 2:49am

    Oh crap. There goes Iran giving more ideas away to Hollywood and for FREE too! What fools.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    goj boy, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 3:53am

    thy should just use facebook

     

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  10.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 3:58am

    Re:

    "US and UK"

    I was wondering why he didn't use that instead of "other repressive regimes."

    Must have been a line spacing concern.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 4:09am

    All card systems have the same flaw, electronic systems identify the card, and not the person carrying it. A check against biometric information is required to validate that the card matches the person, and if this is stored on the card then a fake card can be made to match the person carrying it.
    If no such check is carried out, cloned cards become useful to get someone else blamed for online activity.

     

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  12.  
    icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 4:21am

    The US is already there. Don't you read Techdirt?

    http://epic.org/privacy/id_cards/

    It's called the REAL ID act, and it's delayed start goes into effect next year.

    Welcome to Amerika.

    E

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 4:55am

    Re:

    I wonder how many times they'll bring up "national security" and "protect the children" as their easy go-to justification.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:02am

    Re: The US is already there. Don't you read Techdirt?

    I've known about that for awhile. This just verifies that they put those Smart ID tracking systems into the schools in order to condition our youth into blind acceptance of a big brother surveillance state.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:09am

    Re: Business?

    This sort of action is typical with authoritarian rule.

    A few years ago Iran wanted to have people wear armbands in order to identify them. (It wasn't about "safety" or any of that nonsense, it was about having an easy way to seperate the Muslims from the Jews and Christians.) People relented and there was diplomatic pressure to stop the program, so it was scrapped ...for the time being.

     

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  16.  
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    gorehound (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:24am

    But the question I want to know Iran:
    How's that RIAL Doing ?

    LOL

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    an Iranian, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:06am

    Where do you get such news?
    I am Iranian and against those mullahs but never heard such thing!!!!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re:

    HA, you've activated my trap card "Fascist Regime!" Prepare to lose.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:51am

    Re: The US is already there. Don't you read Techdirt?

    Real Id - A solution searching for a problem

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 7:09am

    Re: The US is already there. Don't you read Techdirt?

    Link about it going into effect?

    As far I can tell it hasn't been followed up on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    You have a SERIOUS case of misplaced priorities there. Which is more important, your filesharing, or the freedom of Iranians?

     

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  22.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Cynical

    Other oppressive regimes will doubtless be watching the Iran experience closely.
    Is it just me, but since this is talking about ID cards, my brain automatically added "like the UK" in between "regimes" and "will"...

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: The US is already there. Don't you read Techdirt?

    The Rutherford Institute (sounds like a secret, Big Brother in the making, "institute") is being sued for tracking students.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121125/15041521137/court-temporarily-blocks-school-district-s uspending-student-refusing-to-wear-student-idtracking-device.shtml

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    USA will copy this very soon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    And given the outrage it's will quickly burn in flames.

     

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  26.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Give them what they want

    Iran wants to exercise mushroom management of their people - keep them in the dark and feed them sh!t... Let them, but take it one step further - block ALL internet access to Iran, including the government and its leaders. Don't let them email, phone, or communicate over the Internet (phones are mostly routed over the Internet any longer) to ANYONE. Let them use snail-mail for all communications to other entities, and just see how long they last in power!

     

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  27.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:27am

    Re: Re:

    File sharing of course. You know pirate furry fandom videos are more important than a nation of 79 million people.

    AC get a clue.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 2:12am

    and what US based company is supplying them the system from its Chinese factory?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:29pm

    I remember hearing Kaspersky, I think, saying everyone should have an ID card to log on the internet. I wouldn't be surprised if Russia is helping Iran build this network. Possibly using it as a test bed for future deployment in Russia, and probably China.
    .
    Either way, this is a sad day for humanity. Especially for the citizens (slaves) of Iran. Their internet (intra-net) will no longer be a place of infinite knowledge. Nor will it be a place of free expression, which is required to post knowledge online for other people to view and learn.
    .
    Ultimately, this will only weaken the human race, by slowing our growth and development of knowledge. I honestly can't express how big a blow this is to humanity as a whole. This will only end in slavery, oppression, and a weak/unhappy society. Iran may as well shut their intranet off, because it's become little more than oppressive tool to brainwash it's citizens.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    romani, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    SERIOUS case

    You have a SERIOUS case of misplaced priorities there. Which is more important, your filesharing, or the freedom of Iranians?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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