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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Filed Under: civil liberties, free speech, hassan rouhani, internet filtering, iran


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  1. identicon
    8989, 3 Jul 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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