by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 14th 2013 12:12pm
Thu, Mar 14th 2013 7:50am
from the affleck-off dept
Side note: I consider the Iranians not protesting Gigli an act of war
Image source: CC BY 2.0
Of course, if you'd like any real details on what Tehran is planning on doing about any of this, good luck.
Iran is planning to sue Hollywood over the Oscar-winning "Argo" because of the movie's allegedly "unrealistic portrayal" of the country, Iranian media reported Tuesday. Several news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh daily, said French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is in Iran for talks with officials over how and where to file the lawsuit. She is also the lawyer for notorious Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal.Ah, lovely. The problem is that, while Iran is dismissing Argo and its awards as CIA propaganda, because everyone knows how pro-military Hollywood is, they aren't really disputing any specific points in the movie. They just say it shows Iranians as being too violent during the hostage-taking (er...), that Affleck failed to show why Iranians were so angry at the United States (they must have missed the movie's opener), and called Argo's awards an "attack against humanity." Other than that, no details were provided on what charges they were going to bring in what court and at what time. Why?
Well, probably because there is roughly f#@$-all they can actually do about it, outside of their own borders, where their own population has been gobbling the movie up via bootleg DVDs (are copyright pirates also pro-CIA?). Regardless, a quick message for my Iranian friends: it's a movie, get over it.
Wed, Feb 20th 2013 1:31pm
from the silly-dictator,-tricks-are-for-kids dept
Which brings us to the new fighter jet, unveiled by Iran and named the Qaher-313, which could well actually be able to fly, but you can't know that from the photoshopped pictures released to state run media. Here's a comparison between a stock image of Mount Damavand, a well-known natural landmark in Iran, and a suspiciously similar image with the new jet flying over it.
Look, it's not that the jet doesn't look pretty sweet flying over Mount Damavand, it's just that if the majority world opinion is that your country is still using Russian war technology because you can't build working models on your own, an easily-discovered photoshop of your plane... you know... actually flying probably isn't going to impress anyone. Put some effort into it, guys. At least figure out a way to alter the cloud formations, so they aren't identical.
Thu, Jan 24th 2013 9:36am
from the what-is-it-good-for?--absolutely-nothin' dept
The problem, of course, is that anyone who spends a couple minutes studying what's actually happening realizes that this is a one-sided war, likely started by the West, and our opponent is fighting against our tanks with pea-shooters.
The first shot was probably the release of Stuxnet sometime during or before 2009. Even though no one has officially claimed responsibility everyone knows who was behind it. Stuxnet hit with a bang and did a whole lot of damage to Iran's uranium-enrichment capabilities. The United States followed that up with Flame–the ebola virus of spyware.That's what makes all of this seem so monumentally silly. The government is making use of an American public, which is massively ignorant about who and what Iran is and is capable of, to go legislatively nutbars in our own country. Don't ask me why they're doing it, but they are. Perhaps more importantly, we're being told that we need legislation to protect against an incapable enemy in a war that we started. If that makes sense to you, chances are you need psychiatric care.
What did the Iranians fire back with? A series of massive, on-going and ineffective DDoS attacks on American banks. This is a disproportionate response but not in the way military experts usually mean that phrase. It's the equivalent of someone stealing your car and you throwing an ever-increasing number of eggs at his house in response.
And even more problematic, and frustrating for me personally, is that our government isn't even putting in the effort to fool me properly. It's one thing to have Colin Powell waving a test tube at Congress and shouting "We're all going to die!", but it's quite another to have folks like Gen. William Shelton talking about potential risks in a potential war that we potentially started with a potential threat that we created by attacking it. That's entirely too much potential and not enough blatant falsehood. If the government wants to bullshit us, they can't go in half way. I need real creative lying, not nonsense reports that they have to subsequently pull because they're...you know...made up.
ProPublica reported yesterday that a widely cited Defense Department study claiming Iran's Intelligence Ministry constitutes "a terror and assassination force 30,000 strong" has been "pulled for revisions." It seems there's no proof whatsoever that the 30,000 number wasn't pulled out of thin air.See, it's not that I'm siding with the pea-shooters here, it's that I'm more scared of the guys that started this war with their tanks. Particularly when the result is poorly-conceived legislation.
by Michael Ho
Wed, Jan 23rd 2013 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Mars One is now looking for people willing to become astronauts, train for 8 years, and go on a ONE-WAY trip to Mars (and also be part of this globally-televised mission). The first team to go will be democratically elected from six teams of four astronauts, and the launch is scheduled for September 2022. [url]
- Iran is planning to launch a monkey into space sometime in February 2013. Iran has a goal of sending a human into space by 2020 and putting someone on the moon by 2025. (And Iran has already sent a rat, two turtles and a worm into space.) [url]
- MRI scans of astronauts who spent over a month in space show that long term exposure to microgravity can damage eyeballs and parts of the brain. The problems are similar to having intracranial hypertension -- where the brain experiences pressures that press it against the skull and eye sockets. [url]
- A simulated 520-day mission to Mars found that astronauts may need to keep Earth-like schedules or else they'll have trouble sleeping and possibly acquire some mood disorders. This ground-based study will affect plans for manned Mars missions, and it could also have implications for people who live with disrupted sleep and prolonged exposure to artificial lighting. [url]
by Glyn Moody
Wed, Nov 28th 2012 11:55pm
from the dangerous-ideas dept
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.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 8th 2012 9:49am
from the seems-a-bit-excessive dept
Then, on October 4, 2012, the IFC began preventing files hosted on servers outside Iran from entering the country by blocking specific file extensions. At the time of writing, this policy applies to all MP3, MP4, AVI and SWF files. This kind of filtering was used after the controversial presidential elections of 2009, amidst harsh crackdowns on freedom of information, and coincides with Iran's current economic crisis and the ensuing protests.Apparently, those blocks do not apply to those files hosted within the country -- just those from foreign sites. Still, that's a pretty extreme move: blocking all of those files takes away a significant part of the audio-visual part of the web. The article highlights a number of Iranians complaining on Twitter about how these blocks are having a severe negative impact on what they do. Still, it's yet another warning for what happens when a government can aggressively filter the internet in extreme ways.
Wed, Oct 3rd 2012 7:55pm
from the but-still-no-youtube dept
Regardless of whether or not the block on Gmail was intentional, the obstruction to one of the world’s most popular email services resulted in many complaints from Iran officials. Legislator Hossein Garousi reportedly threatened to summon Iran’s telecommunications minister Reza Taqipour for parliamentary questioning if the service was not unblocked.
Iran continues to block any site or network that expresses “anti-government views,” including sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, which helped rally citizens and circularize the massive protests following the questionable re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Now, the blocking of such sites probably doesn't shock any of us anymore. It's unfortunate, but they're doing it. Hell, Iran has previously announced plans to build their very own internet. The good news is that Iranian citizens aren't simply rolling over at their government's heavy-handed censorship of the internet. They know how to use technology to get around the filters too.
Even though YouTube was previously blocked in Iran before the film was released and Gmail access was barred, Reuters reports on the ability of Iranian citizens to “circumvent Internet restrictions” using virtual private network (VPN) software, which makes it appear as if the computer accessing the content is located in another country.So best of luck to you, Iranian government, because you're going to need it if you think that suppressing thought and the freedom to access an unfettered internet is going to work out for you in the long term. At least you can rest easy knowing that your citizens can't play online roleplaying games. We've got that covered from our end.
Fri, Aug 31st 2012 5:31am
from the that-will-teach-them dept
"I want you!!! ...to enjoy the Mists of Pandaria Persian-free."
Last week, a user claiming to be from Iran posted on an official World of Warcraft forum to report that the game was inaccessible. A Blizzard employee responded to the thread on Saturday, writing that "United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran."In a fun little addendum, the Blizzard employee also mentioned that the company is unable to refund subscriptions as well.
"This week, Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services," the employee said.
You can have your rials back when you pry them from our cold dead fingers...
Image source. CC BY 2.0
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 20th 2012 3:33pm
WIPO: Giving Computers For 'Patents' To North Korea And Iran Didn't Violate UN Sanctions... But We'll Stop Doing It
from the you-know,-just-because dept
The whole thing should be seen as a massive scandal that calls into question the judgment of those at the top of WIPO -- but it doesn't seem to be fazing too many people. WIPO recently released a statement trying to play down the whole thing, while at the same time admitting that it was changing its policies and likely would stop handing computers over to such regimes based on promises that they'd be used to setup patent databases. In other words, while it won't do it again, leadership there doesn't seem particularly apologetic for its actions.
The provision of standard IT equipment to the IP offices of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Islamic Republic of Iran that occurred in the preceding years, within the context of the Organization’s business modernization program for IP Offices in developing countries, is being referred to the relevant UN Sanctions Committees for their information and guidance.It still amazes me that anyone at WIPO thought this was a good idea. The fact that they still refuse to admit doing anything wrong suggests they don't even realize how badly they were played by those governments.
The initial steps are being undertaken for a full external and independent review of the technical assistance provided to countries subject to UN sanctions.
A new internal instruction has been issued ending any provision of IT hardware in any of WIPO’s technical assistance programs.
Either way, WIPO boss Francis Gurry did an interview with IP-Watch where he continues to downplay the seriousness of the issue, and also says he doesn't feel any compulsion to respond to the US's stated concerns about the program. He says that they stopped sending the program because of some "ambiguity."
“There’s a relatively small number of countries who benefit from hardware as opposed to our complete software package,” Gurry said. “And since certain member states perceive that there is some ambiguity in the use of standard IT equipment – printers, cartridges, PCs and servers – we think the only complete answer we can give because of their perception of ambiguity is to say, we no longer do that.”Something about that statement reminds me of a particular Monty Python quote. Either way, it still seems like WIPO still doesn't understand why its actions are being questioned here.
“We can argue for hours and hours and hours about the legal interpretation, that it’s only a few PCs, and so on,” he said. “But if there’s lingering doubt, let's eliminate it.”