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When It Comes To Internet Censorship, China & Iran Are All In This Together

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, January 22 2014

Iran's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology just announced that China will be collaborating with them on Iran's "clean Internet" or the National Information Network. Officials from China's Information Council met with Nasrollah Jahangard, Iran's Head of Internet and Communications Technology, earlier this month to iron out the deal.

Global Voices points out that the national Internet has been a gleam in Iranian authorities' eyes for years. Although details about what it would look like are unknown, it would essentially amount to an Iranian Intranet, totally cut off from the world wide web. Iranian bloggers fear this would mean no Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.

It's the difference between a blacklist and a white list, Alireza Shirazi, the founder of a leading blogging software provider, explained to Global Voices. A blacklist will filter out sites that have been blocked, but a white list is much more restrictive, limiting the Internet to site approved by the authorities.

In the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology press release, Ministry head Jahangard said that he hopes to use China's “four decades of good experiences in the application development services for information technology.”

Perhaps Iran's failure to implement the National Internet or to completely control Iranian's online activities spurred them to seek this partnership with China.

Just what the world needed! Two of the absolute worst countries for Internet and media freedom—Reporters Without Borders' 2013 Press Freedom Index ranked China and Iran 173 and 174 respectively—to put their heads together!

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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