Iran's President-Elect: Net Filtering Doesn't Work... Oh, And By The Way, Human Rights Are Universal

from the he-said-what??? dept

In the past, Iran has provided plenty of light relief here on Techdirt, whether because of plans to build its own Internet, or thanks to weird stuff like this. But it looks like those days are over following the election of a surprisingly-moderate President, Hassan Rouhani. Here, for example, are his thoughts on Net filters, as reported by The Guardian:

"Supporters of internet filtering should explain whether they've successfully restricted access to information? Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?"

He added: "Filtering has not even stopped people from accessing unethical [a reference to pornographic] websites. Widespread online filtering will only increase distrust between people and the state."
That's a pretty remarkable statement, since it comes from a nation that has tried to impose Net censorship more rigorously than most. It's also important, because it underlines why Western countries that keep flirting with the idea of introducing Net filtering are simply wasting their time. Rouhani has some other points that Western leaders would do well to remember:
"Injustice is an injustice...it's a double standard to call an injustice in an unfriendly country as an injustice but to label the same thing in a friendly country as not...human rights is same in any place around the world."
It's early days yet, and it remains to be seen whether the new President will be able to push through reforms in the face of conservative resistance in Iran. But it certainly looks like we might be seeing some interesting stories coming out of Iran soon, even if they are not so amusing as those Techdirt has carried in the past.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    That will enrage the US government. Expect an invasion.

     

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  2.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    When Iran is calling out the US and other countries on human rights violations... ouch.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    So maybe this was our plan all along. Step 1: Trample on everyone's rights. Step 2: Our enemies automatically take the reverse position. Step 3: Surrender.

     

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  4.  
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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    Re:

    We have no enemies except the ones we invented.

    In reality, we have crackpots with access to fertilizer, planes, and pressure-cookers.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    the story has come via The Guardian, hasn't it? it must be total bullshit then and the journalist responsible should be arrested and held in jail for aiding a traitor in releasing this report! (just kiddin' guys!)

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    it remains to be seen what this man's mettle is but one of the biggest problems apparently with all governments is they will not and do not listen to the people! they seem to completely ignore the fact that they were elected into their present positions by the people and if the people dont think they are doing a good enough job or are doing the wrong things, supporting the wrong causes, the people have the right to have the governments removed from office. what seems to be happening everywhere is that as soon as a person is elected leader, everything else goes out the window and the only thing of any importance is remaining in that position. this is what seems to be happening in Egypt atm. it has happened in other countries recently too, like Portugal, Spain, Greece. the people call for change and perhaps resignations but the answer is always given by employing force. this results in things getting truly out of hand and the obvious consequences usually mean more bloodshed rather than common sense dialogue! how stupid and greedy some humans are!!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re:

    This is a very important point. The threat from "terrorists" relies on the label that they are terrorists which is extremely subjective and as soon as they are labeled, terrorism might be their last resort since they will get squeezed on resources untill they are nakked, making terrorism a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In the meantime lone wolves (1-5 people total within the same geographical area is my definition which goes a little further than the strict definition) are by far more dangerous. Boston bombers, Breivik, London murderers and all the serial killers in USA, including the school massacres, are what we cannot predict through intelligence gathering.

     

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  8.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    Re:

    Sad but true.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    Let's hope he means what he says, instead of lying is ass off like most politicians. I'm learned not to trust the words coming out of a politician's mouth, but to only judge them on their actions.

     

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  10.  
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    crade (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    When the U.S. was anti-censorship, Iran loves censorship.. When the U.S. loves censorship, Iran is anti-censorship.
    The import thing is to stay anti-U.S. policy

     

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  11.  
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    8989, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Web filtering done right

    Personal experience: web filtering without being able to see why something is blocked is useless. Period.

    Explanation: web filters will always block pages incorrectly. This makes you distrust a filter, and want to go to the website to see if the block is correct.

    Net result: zero + some extra annoyance.

     

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  12.  
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    8989, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Web filtering done right

    Oh, I forgot to add: if somebody wants to access a blocked site, they will be able to as long as just one website not under the censor's control is accessible.

    One website not controlled by the censor accessible = any site not controlled by the censor accessible. (Control also including sympathizing with the censor's ideas.)

    Whoever controls any non-censor controlled site can set it up as a proxy, a tor bridge etc.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 2:40pm

    Re:

    No, that's not the ouch. Countries like that have been calling out the US for years. The USSR and China were even doing it during the cold war. No, the ouch is that he's plainly correct.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    The power in Iran is with the religious supreme leader, not the president.

    http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=leader_law

    The supreme leader is appointed by "people's" representatives and I do believe but did not research it that the representatives that make up the council is appointed by the supreme leader.

    The presidency is a token position.
    A cunning way to simulate the appearance of a just and democratic state. A decoy, a lame duck or whatever one would like to call it.

    So I don't believe it will change anything.

    Recently though I believe the elections are being used as a compass, signaling in which direction the public is leaning towards and enabling the supreme leader to take show or hide his true motivations and desires.

    Meaning, although I don't believe that the Iranian leadership will change its instances, it will make them less likely to spout dictatorial nonsense freely, unless they want to end up with a second revolution in their hands, and this time the supreme leader will not be celebrated as a liberator.

     

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  15.  
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    Cyrus, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    I think the writer misundersatnds something

    Iran's president was referring to the double standard that the US has regarding human rights. The Iranian president was implying that it's odd for the US not to call out on allied countries when they do abuse human rights but it is okay to call out on unfriendly countries that abuse human rights.

     

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  16.  
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    Richard Hack (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 6:22pm

    If you want real perspectives on Iran

    follow the Leveretts' site www.goingtotehran.com which covers US foreign policy and media mistakes on Iran.

    Much of what you read about Iran in the US mainstream media is about as accurate as what you're reading about Snowden.

    The main thing to understand is that Iran absolutely does not have a nuclear weapons program and has zero interest in ever having one. Everything you hear from Obama and the MSM on that is a total lie.

     

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

  17.  
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    Richard Hack (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 6:30pm

    Re:

    The Iranian presidency is not a "token" position. He has real influence over domestic policy such as the economy in Iran. He just has little influence over foreign policy and national security.

    The odds of Iran having a "second revolution", certainly one that is more secular, are next to nil. The majority of Iranians believe in their system of government, even if they aren't totally happy with some of the excesses.

    Compared to US "allies" in the region such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are true monarchical dictatorships, Iran is almost a model democracy. They have a higher voting turnout than the US does. Although the candidates are vetted by the cleric council, I'm not sure that's worse than US candidates being vetted by a corrupt national party leadership angling for corporate contributions.

    And before anyone raises the point about the 2009 elections, there is ZERO evidence of vote fraud in that election. Google for Eric Brill's report on that.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 4th, 2013 @ 4:28am

    Re:

    That seems to be a pretty good idea ATM.

     

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  19.  
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    X, Jul 4th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Like all dictators, Audrey Barnhart, the Iron Ayatollah of the Texas County (MO) Library system, loves censorship and net filtering.

     

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  20.  
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    Change Iran Now, Jul 7th, 2013 @ 10:23pm

    And if you believe that, you believe in pink flying ponies

    Everyone knows you can't pass gas in Iran without Khamenei's approval and blessing and Rowhani is no different. All he did was read from a careful script that mentions "moderate" a dozen times. It's no different than a Democrat saying "stimulus" or a Republican yelling out "jobs" in every speech. Iran has been and remains an obstinate theocracy run by mullahs hellbent of spreading their special version of radicalized Islam around the world and there is no way they are going to back down until the West fully supports the people of Iran and empowers them to overthrow their government the same way the Arab Spring is dramatically changing the rest of the Middle East.

     

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


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