This is not an in-depth blog post about the internet censorship in Iran. If you look for that you find better stuff ‘out there’ or maybe start with the dedicated wikipedia page, instead. This is mere a simple story about my own experience, using the internet in Iran.
Recently I was in Iran for educational purposes (the thing other people call vacation). I directly came from Bucharest where I was at FSFE’s General Assembly and where I used Airbnb to find a proper accommodation. For those who do not know: Airbnb is a service that offers private accommodations, provided by local people. To prove reliability of the hosts, it comes with a built-in recommendation system. So I was in Iran now and I wanted to write a recommendation about my host in Bucharest inside Airbnb. But, when I tried to log in, I was facing this:
Why can I not use Airbnb from my location?
Airbnb has to keep to the law of the United States, that says that people of distinct countries are not allowed to use our service. That is why our service is not available in Cuba, Syria, Iran and Sudan.
Do you remember the protests around #GeziPark in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 2013? People were heavily using Twitter and other social media to mobilize and organize an opposition against Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. Since then, the Internet is Erdogan’s personal enemy.
If we look at a rough timeline of Erdogan’s recent turkish government decisions on internet policy:
February 2014: Turkey passes a new internet law No 5651, to censor the web and for data retention (Guardian, BoingBoing). content:
block any website within four hours without first seeking a court ruling
store all data on web users’ activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request
March 2014: Turkish government blocks Youtube and Twitter ahead of national elections. (anmnesty international)
April – June 2014: Twitter compiles with court decisions to aid and assist Turkish authorities in ceonsoring political content. (Daily Sabah)
May to July 2014: Turkey blocks access to approximately 48.000 websites
… we can see that Internet governance in Turkey equals censorshop. However …
What t f?
#IGF2014’s agenda is about reforming ICANN, privacy, fundamental rights, surveillance and net neutrality. Now, guess, who sends most participants into the discussions and decisions about these important topics? Erdogan’s government and authorities.
Das Recht auf eigene Gerätehoheit als Bedingung der Privatsphäre
Zusammenfassung: Das Thema Überwachung dreht sich meist um die Überwachung des öffentlichen Raumes, spätestens seit Prism auch um die der Telekommunikation. Im eigenen Zuhause oder im Kreise der Freunde hingegen denkt man nur selten an die Möglichkeit einer allgegenwärtigen Überwachung. Doch genau diese Gefahr droht durch den zunehmenden Kontrollverlust über unsere technischen (Kommunikations-)Geräte. Immer häufiger implementieren Hersteller Möglichkeiten des Fernzugriffs in ihre Produkte. Daraus resultierende Zugangs- und Kontrollmöglichkeiten seitens der Hersteller machen aus diesen Produkten zugleich willkommene Werkzeuge für Geheimdienste. Das persönliche Eigentum wird so zum Spion in der Tasche oder im eigenen Wohnzimmer. Um dieser Entwicklung entgegen zu treten, bedarf es sowohl eines aufgeklärten Konsumverhaltens als auch eines aktiven Verbraucherschutzes, der dem Kunden die eigene Gerätehoheit garantiert.
Recently, I made a blogpost about the ownership of your own device and how control of technology is directly linked with the freedom of society – as well as with the freedom of each individual. The argument made in that post was, that remote control of technology in the hands of manufacturers put users out of their own control and makes censorship, supervision and control of society more and more easy and – therefore – likely to happen.
This year’s day against DRM focusses on a new and global threat to everything we are used to know about the World Wide Web: the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is discussing an Encrypted Media Extensions proposal (EME), that aims at incorporating support for DRM into HTML5. HTML is in the very heart of the Internet. Establishing DRM into HTML might become a terrific threat to the freedom of the Internet, to Free Software browsers and users freedom in general.
I hope, many people around the world join FSF and FSFE or align with other organisations in their fight against DRM in HTML5. Please, sign the petition and ring the bells as loud as you can to make other people aware of this misleading development.
Now, I would like to use this day to shed light on another issue. Something, that DRM not necessarily relates to, but, is indeed related to it: ownership of your own device.
More precise, the content of this proposal reads like:
Given by law, there is the right for free installation of whatever software you like on any ‘computer-like’ device. For the vendor, it’s legal to sell a locked device – but unlocking the device by the user must be implemented in an easy way by the default operating system. All software that will be installed, must be given the possibility for full access to all interfaces of the device. In addition, warranty may not be declared void after installation of software by the user. This must be true for manufacturers warranty as well as the one from your provider.
‘computer-like’ devices, and therefore affected by this law, are all information-processing devices whose operating system basically allows to install additional software. Not included should be devices for industrial or security purposes as well as devices that can physically harm someone, eg. cars or kitchen inventory.