Implications of New Technologies for Democratic Change in Iran Cyrus Farivar http://cyrusfarivar.com cfarivar@cfarivar.

org
Global Voices 2010 May 7, 2010
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yahyanatanzi/3837114239/

0. Who am I?

I. A Twitter Revolution?

I. A Twitter Revolution?

Not so much: Web Ecology Project (June 26, 2009)

Source: http://www.webecologyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/WEP-twitterFINAL.pdf

Iran’s Internet Statistics

2000: One million Internet users 2008: 23 million Internet users Growth rate: 48 percent Internet penetration rate: 35 percent Average Middle East Internet penetration rate: 26 percent
Source: OpenNet Initiative (http://opennet.net/research/profiles/iran)

Internet Filtering in Iran

Dear subscriber, access to this site is not possible. In case this site has been mistakenly filtered please email filter@dci.ir with the domain name and necessary explanation.

“God is with us / Are you filtering him too?” (2009)

II. How we got here

Islamic Revolution: 1978-1979 Islamic Republic Declared: April 1, 1979

II. How we got here

Iran-Iraq War: 1980-1988 ~ 500,000 dead

March 1989: World Wide Web Invented

Tim Berners-Lee (UK), a visiting scientist at CERN (Switzerland) invents World Wide Web. 1990: 2 mil Internet users (~85% are American)

June 1989: Khomeini dies, Khamenei now Supreme Leader

1992: Iran gets online
1988: Dr. Siavash Shahshahani uses Internet in Italy for first time 1992: Mohammad-Javad Larijani (Director of Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, Tehran), authorizes first connection to Internet. 1992: Iran connects to Internet (via Austria) 1995: 30,000 Iranians online 2010: M-J Larijani is a Khamenei adviser, head of human rights council in Judiciary Dept. Brother Ali Larijani was chief Iranian nuclear negotiator and is currently speaker of Iranian parliament. Other brother Sadeq Larijani is the new head of Iranian Judiciary.

1992: Iran gets online

“According to the Internet Society, in the first half of this year Iran had the world's second highest increase in numbers of ‘reachable computers’ hooked up to the Internet. But will the mullahs -- once they figure out the full extent of what's going on -- allow it?” -- Carroll Bogert, “Chat Rooms and Chadors: Iran: Will the Internet open a closed society?”, Newsweek, August 21, 1995

May 23, 1997: Mohammed Khatami Elected
“No, no, I don't like to hear slogans like that,” [President Khatami] exclaimed. “I don't like to hear 'Death to opponents' or death to anybody, because as matters stand in our society at present, it will be interpreted in a very negative way, as meaning that anybody who does not share your views should be silenced, and that's not right at all. The Iran we want should be one where there will be room for all the different viewpoints, for all ideologies, even those that oppose the President. They, too, must have the right to express themselves.”
John F. Burns, “As Iran's Reformer Speaks, Anti-Reformers Sit and Scowl,” The New York Times, September 30, 1999

December 2000: Montazeri.com vs. Montazery.com
Montazeri.com vs. Montazery.com: Ayatollahs wage war on Internet Friday 15 December 2000 - Agence France Presse PARIS, Dec 15 (AFP) - Dissident cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri, once in line to be Iran's supreme leader, this week dropped a political bombshell by publishing his memoirs on the Internet and provoking a cyber war with the leadership in Tehran. Montazeri, 79, who had been chosen to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, has been living under house arrest in Qom, south of Tehran, ever since he was forced to resign weeks before Khomeini's death in 1989. ... But he struck a hard blow on Monday when he published a 600-page memoir on an Internet site based in Britain, which his sons veried as his work. The document, published in Persian and available at www.montazeri.com, provides important testimony to some of the most dramatic moments of the revolution and the war with Iraq. Authorities in Tehran have so far not publicly reacted to Montazeri's memoirs but on Thursday a counter-site -- www.montazery.com -- appeared on the internet and described itself as representing the office of Khamenei.

September/October 2001: First Persian Blogs

Salman Jariri September 7, 2001
http://www.globalpersian.com/archive/010901.html

Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan October 7, 2001
http://web.archive.org/web/20080730053406/http://i.hoder.com/archives/2001/10/011007_005490.shtml

2001 - 2002: Crackdown, Part I
May 2001: Four hundred Tehran cybercafés shut down June 2001: Iran Telecommunications Company bans children under 18 from accessing Internet November 2001: Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution declares all ISPs should be state-controlled September 2002: Then-Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (pictured) calls for the creation of a “special committee for legal investigation on Internet-related crimes and offenses.” December 2002: Committee Responsible for Determining Unauthorized Sites established

April 20, 2003: Sina Motalebi arrested

http://web.archive.org/web/20040422231903/www.rooznegar.com/archives/2003_04.php

2004: Crackdown, Part II
September - October 2004: Many bloggers, online journalists arrested Including: Omid Memarian (pictured, center)

Source: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center September 2009

http://www.iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/pdfs/Reports/Forced%20Confessions%20-%20Targeting%20Iran%27s%20Cyber-Journalists.pdf

November 2005: We Are Iran released

August 8, 2006: Pres. Ahmadinejad begins blog

http://web.archive.org/web/20070509211753/http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/en/autobiography/

April 2008: John Kelly & Bruce Etling study released

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publications/2008/Mapping_Irans_Online_Public

March 18, 2009: Omid Reza Mirsayafi dies in prison

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

June 21, 2009

http://gerdab.ir/fa/pages/?cid=422

III. Potential for Democratic Change?
“Iranian Revolutionary Guards ready to fight cyber and Internet war”

September 7, 2009 http://gerdab.ir/fa/pages/?cid=504

III. Potential for Democratic Change?
“An Internet battle report in the defeated velvet coup”

October 1, 2009

http://gerdab.ir/fa/pages/?cid=517

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

December 3, 2009 In recent months, Iran has been conducting a campaign of harassing and intimidating members of its diaspora world-wide -- not just prominent dissidents -- who criticize the regime, according to former Iranian lawmakers and former members of Iran's elite security force, the Revolutionary Guard, with knowledge of the program. Part of the effort involves tracking the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity of Iranians around the world, and identifying them at opposition protests abroad, these people say. Interviews with roughly 90 ordinary Iranians abroad -- college students, housewives, doctors, lawyers, businesspeople -- in New York, London, Dubai, Sweden, Los Angeles and other places indicate that people who criticize Iran's regime online or in public demonstrations are facing threats intended to silence them.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125978649644673331.html

III. Potential for Democratic Change?
“On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.” -- Secretary of State Hilary Clinton Washington, D.C., January 21, 2010

http://www.state.gov/statecraft/
Source: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/135519.htm

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

February 2, 2010
Do you have a representative or a spokesperson outside the country? In the green movement, every citizen is a media outlet. But the green path does not have a representative or spokesperson outside the country. This is one of its beauties. Everyone can talk about their ideas and the movement expands within a collaborative environment. As one of the members of the movement, I, too, will express my comments and suggestions in this environment.

Source: http://www.kaleme.org/1388/11/13/klm-10327

III. Potential for Democratic Change?
“Computer Crimes Act”
Article 1: Any unauthorized access of data, information or the Internet & Telecommunications systems — which are under security measures — will be sentenced to ninety days to one year in prison, or fines of five to twenty million rials ($500 - $2,000), or both.

February 2, 2010

http://gerdab.ir/fa/pages/?cid=607

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-04/iran-says-cut-disrupts-internet-opposition-blames-government.html

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

III. Potential for Democratic Change?
~1858: Henry Field (pastor, author, brother of Cyrus Field) The Telegraph: “…unites distant nations, making them feel that they are members of one great family… By such strong ties does it tend to bind the human race in unity, peace and concord.” 1995: Nicholas Negroponte (Professor, MIT): The Internet can: “…flatten organizations, globalize society, decentralize control and harmonize people.” “The nation-state may go away.”

III. Potential for Democratic Change?

“What we have seen, time and time again, is that physical coercion by government – the hallmark of a traditional legal system – remains far more important than anyone expected. This may sound crude and ugly and even depressing. Yet at a fundamental level, it’s the most important thing missing from most predictions of where globalization will lead, and the most significant gap in predictions about the future shape of the Internet.”
Tim Wu and Jack Goldsmith, Who Controls the Internet? (Oxford University Press, 2006), 180

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful