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The internet is (obviously) one of the best examples of the network effect.

Sure you can technically wall of a subset of it and live on your own, but why would any sane person want to? I mean I get it, they want to limit access to non ideologically compatible ideas, which is most of everything.

But then that severely limits the utility of their new internet. Right now the economy is coasting pretty heavily on oil exports. If unlike say Qatar, they don't invest massively in more long term sustainable economic growth (which tends to require education, hence Qatar's massive education boom) then in a bit they are going to be pretty screwed. And cutting off this access to information is just so short sighted.

It's like blinding yourself because right now you can afford the servants to take care of all your needs. Long term, when you run out of money, you might wish you had eyes so you could earn some new money.

They will be able to harness a lot of the network effects of the Internet. Contrary to the linkbait title, they are not building "their own version" of the Internet; they are building a separate special purpose network of networks, much like SIPRNet. As long as they don't mess with any of the protocols they will be able to take advantage of advances in COTS hardware and software. Furthermore they seem to be taking advantage of China's surveillance machine. Instead of building their own version of the "panopticon router" they are buying China's.

Most importantly, your analogy misses the point about the Internet and the current power structure in Iran. If they do nothing to stem the free flow of information they will not be able to hold on to power long enough to run out of oil money. Comparing Qatar to Iran is apples to oranges. The political climate in Qatar is remarkably different than the political climate in Iran.

To a large extent your analysis is spot on. However you are assuming that the Iranian leadership is a semi-benevolent organization whose central goal is the betterment of the average Iranian's life. This is simply not the case in Iran. The Iranian leaders are more concerned with maintaining power and the destruction of Israel than they are with improving the lives of Iranians.

The West also censors. My understanding is Britain censored Press TV for spurious reasons using front organization Ofcom. French embassy refused visas for Iranian reporters. Germany also blocks Iranian news. Noam Chomsky, an old man who preaches the Golden Rule, was refused entry into Israel. Lily Sussman had Arab characters taped on her laptop keys and the Israeli border security shot holes through it. Fretting about another countries surveillance on its citizens seems a little silly today. Ahmadinejad was also elected, the electorate preferred potatoes over Western appeals to be able to wear bikinis.

I'm not saying that we don't have a fascist government willing to censor anything they don't like the look of but the Press TV thing might not be the best example.

They had their license revoked after broadcasting a "confession" by Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari that was conducted after torturing him and under threat of execution.

Then they apparently admitted to being editorially controlled by their Iranian branch, who are not licensed to broadcast in the UK.


If they were any good at the international diplomacy soft power game they'd have just made sure only pro-Iranian people got hired to work at Press TV. Kind of like RT and Al Jazeera.

I've read nothing about there having been torture. Bahari claims the interview with Press TV was under duress. The journalist was held a total of 4 months. Bahari claims he had to condemn the west to gain release. The 10 second clip Ofcom uses to incriminate is: “On Monday, 15 June [2009], I sent a report about the attack against the base, a military base of Basij to Channel 4 News as well as to Newsweek Magazine.”

Nothing there is a condemnation of the West. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/181727.html According to Wikileaks the West has been trying to remove Press TV's broadcast.

He claims to have been beaten by his guards in numerous ways while in prison. http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/maziar%2Bbahari%2Ba...

"Of course there was some physical torture. He beat me, hit me with a belt, punched and kicked me but to me the scarier parts were these conversations because I could see he had a very wrong view of the world.

Under "potatoes", do you mean something like the promise by Ahmadinejad to spend money earned by Iran to feed Iranian citisens?

If the answer is yes, don't you see a fatal flaw in such political programme?

It's called redistribution of wealth.

Hi, I am the author of the report and I wanted to clarify the technical detail that you get at. In fact there are two networks, a SIPRNet for the IRGC/MOI and the one that I cover. While I am still drafting my technical paper for arxiv, perhaps the abstract might clarify part of the argument.

"While foreign funding agencies have provided substantial support for the developers and vendors of services that facilitate the unfettered flow of information and opportunities for freedom of expression through the Internet, little consolidated knowledge exists on the basic communications network infrastructure of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the absence open access and public data, rumors and fear have reigned supreme. During provisional research on the censorship regime of the government, we found initial indicators that telecommunications entities in Iran have leveraged private address spaces to build a mature information network only reachable within the country. Despite the clear political implications of the claim we put forward, particularly in light of rampant speculation regarding the mandate of Article 46 of the Fifth Five Year Development Plan to establish a ``national information network,'' we hestitate to engage in speculation regarding the purpose of this structure. Rather, in order to solicit critical feedback for future research, we outline our initial findings and attempt to demonstrate that the matter under contention is a nation-wide phenomenom that warrants broader attention."

So essentially, my argument is that the widescale routing of 10/8 subnets across domestic networks, coupled with domains pointed to these addresses, warrants serious attention.

Can I contact you off-HN? I will put my email in my profile...

Sure, and others are certainly welcome to ping me collin@averysmallbird.com or @CDA.

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