Iran Moves to Enforce New Cyber Law

Al Jazeera is reporting that disputed President Ahmadinejad is moving to enforce a new Internet law that would force ISPs in the country to retain information created by their users for up to three months. According to government-backed Press TV, the law requiring capture of user content will make users “more safe.” However, given the role of the Internet in sharing information about formal and informal protests of the unresolved election results, it is hard to see how this law is anything but another way for the government to limit speech within the country. Our own Rob Faris is quoted on this count:

Rob Faris, a research director at the Harvard University’s Berkman Centre, told Al Jazeera that the new law could serve as an additional tool for the authorities to keep an eye on cyberspace.

‘For blogs that include restricted content, this legislation could give authorities one more way to go after them, though this doesn’t seem needed. The government has not been constrained in the past by a lack of legal instruments.’

Not everyone in the country appears overly concerned, since Iranian users have grown adept at getting around existing censorship and filtering efforts by the government. As Iranian blogger Potkin Azarmehr told Al Jazeera:

Given how internet savvy the young Iranians are and the help they are getting from Iranian expats, whatever law Ahmadinejad passes, there will be a way round it.

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