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.