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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Comments on “Iran's Latest Move To Stifle Dissent: Requiring ID Cards To Go Online”

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The Real Michael says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

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!

Anonymous Coward says:

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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