IRAN'S CYBER WAR
By Micah Halpern
Thursday February 11, 2010
Iranian leadership is afraid of freedom. Freedom of speech petrifies them. And what scares them most of all is the freedom to access information and news.
In other words, the boogey man in the closet of Iranian leadership is the world wide web.
Every citizen of Iran has the ability to both receive and deliver information about anything and everything to anyone in the world -just like you and me. Because of the internet, Iranians can exchange recipes, talk about music and discuss Islam and the Koran and what makes a better Muslim and even, what Allah has commanded them to do. And they can chat about sex.
And that is why Iran is starting its own internet system. It is why Iran has begun blocking Google.
Thanks to Google, Iranian reformers have effectively communicated over the past year. They text message and they email. And they have also mastered the use of other, non-Google communication tools like Twitter. They do it all behind the back of Iran's authoritarian, obsessive, religious leadership.
Now Iranian leadership feels the need to put a stop to internet freedom. They are made uncomfortable by the comfort level Iranians have attained through their Google gmail accounts. They have blocked those accounts and they have admitted to blocking them. Surprisingly, Yahoo has not been hit by Iranian cyber blockades, at least, not yet hit.
Iranian youth, like their comrades the world over, have become very adroit at retrieving information and using gmail. In Iran, by necessity, the younger generation has also become proficient at bypassing the lulls and service problems that Iranian religious leadership has tried to impose. Iranians youth will log on to a protected internet system and access their internet from there, or they will bounce and forward their gmail email to the new, "friendly" internet system.
Iran is a highly educated and technical society. Technology and science are Iran's lifeline. Scientists working for the government on internet issues, however, have not been granted the kinds of budgets needed to clamp down on the hackers and techno-geeks and marauders parading across Iranian cybersphere. Iranian reformers have better skills and better help from abroad than do government scientists. The techno-geeks at Google and Yahoo and hackers around the cyber world are lending a hand to try to aid Iran's reformers take down the Iranian establishment.
As a rule, major internet cyber uber mentschen are apolitical personalities. They are live and let live about almost every issue - except for freedom of speech, except for Iran's decision to shut them down. For them, freedom of speech is more than a religion right, it is the holy grail. And they will not stop until they have crippled the oppressive Iranian regime.
The cyber war has begun.
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