Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Dan Gillmor
Iran's Net Censorship
Hoder points me to "Stop Censoring Us" -- a site about the increasing level of government intervention in what was emerging as relatively free speech in Iran. I'm not sure what individuals outside Iran can do about this except to offer support to the Iranians who want to speak their minds.
I once sat next to a guy from Sun Federal, a Sun Microsystems subsidiary, who was on his way back from selling a filtering system to a government. I think that most of this censorship technology is built in the US. I guess it makes sense, but it's interesting that there is very little discussion about this. (At least as far as I know...)


Actually the issue of US censoring systems being sold to filter the net has been very heavily covered, and not just in the blog world. Most of it has dealt with China, and how the big US companies have helped to build the "Great Firewall of China."

However, I belive we have pretty severe trade sanctions on Iran given their nuclear weapons program (and support for terrorists, repressive human rights, beating us in the World Cup six year ago, etc). In fact, it is basically a 100% sanction on sending stuff to Iran. Of course, I don't think any other countries have followed suit and enforced any sanctions themselves:

So...maybe the systems the Iranians are using come from someplace else instead of the USA? It's just so easy to blame America first, isn't it?

So...maybe the systems the Iranians are using come from someplace else instead of the USA? It's just so easy to blame America first, isn't it?

Um. First, you very fairly lay out how various U.S. corps enable repression, and then you attack the author for "blaming America first", while speculating about the sourcing for Iran, with nothing to add other than a link about how diplomatic failures in U.S. policy fail to isolate Iran.

Might I just note that you're completely failing to talk about the original topic, which is U.S. companies providing tools of repression?

Ummm...if you follow the link it says that it was a US-made system, but the site is in Arabic (or is it Farsi, or is the same characters different pronounciation?) So somehow someone must have gotten around the sanctions (which wouldn't have been the first time).

It is scary and annoying that, be it American or whatever companies in the so called "free world" are selling censoring technology to the "not so free world". Sure, its capitalism and everyone is free to sell whatever they want, but where does is the line drawn?

When will technology that inhibits freedom become as tabu to sell to dictatorships as, say weapons of mass destruction or even normal weapons?

I mean you don't see USA selling F16s to the Iran goverment right? But internet censorship is also a form of control and a weapon in the hands of a government. It certainly inhibits the ability of the free world to help those screwed up countries.

I certainly think this should be covered a lot more in the media and in the blogosphere.