FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, January 10, 2005

Iran Cracks Down on Blogging, Social Networking

Word has come out of Iran that the government there has blocked access to most of the major blogging services, including Blogger.com. They have also turned off access to social networking sites, and personal sites such as Yahoo! Personals. However, it's been noted that LiveJournal and TypePad remain accessible.

Techies and globally-aware bloggers -- both inside and outside of Iran -- are now trying to put their heads together to see how they can circumvent this blockade. Suggestions include promoting the use of P2P applications and proxy servers that can't be readily filtered, and using satellite hookups to reroute traffic around government-controlled firewalls. Activists are also encouraging the petitioning of US and EU officials to put pressure on Iran to change its policies, though the success of this approach is remote.

Some have speculated that articles such as this piece in the Wall Street Journal celebrating the disruptive, pro-democratic (and pro-American) influences of technology prompted Iranian authorities to react. Other governments throughout the world are surely watching this development, and speculating on how they too might be able to bring those pesky bloggers and social networkers under control. The rest of the world's response to this will also be of great interest, as it will test the West's commitment to promoting democracy in the Muslim world.

Sources: Hoder.com, Smart Mobs, Personal Democracy Forum