Iran’s president-elect Hassan Rouhani has announced a relaxed stance on the Internet, declaring filtering is “incapable of producing any [useful] results.”
The new leader of a country synonymous with harsh censorship criticised Iran’s track record on restricting access to information online in an outspoken interview.
As well as championing the rise of social media and the web as a force for good, Rouhani said: “Filtering has not even stopped people from accessing unethical websites. Widespread online filtering will only increase distrust between people and the state,” according to sections of a Chelcheragh interview posted by The Guardian.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to the Communications Data Bill and Parental Internet Controls“Supporters of internet filtering should explain whether they’ve successfully restricted access to information? Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?” he added.
Based on these comments alone it would seem that Rouhani is navigating a more moderate and even-handed approach to internet safety and surveillance.
In the UK, government’s Online Safety Bill, which could force ISPs to block access to adult content by default, have met with resistance from the industry and privacy campaigners.
MP for Devizes Perry has said that: “British internet service providers should share the responsibility to keep our children safe so I am calling for ISPs to offer an ‘opt-in’ system that uses age verification to access pornographic material.”
Since then, the UK’s leading ISPs have introduced or announced plans to introduce network level filtering, a simple and reasonably effective tool that helps parents control what can and can’t be accessed. Depsite this, no system is foolproof and as good as network level filtering is, there are holes in the net.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “As criminals make increasing use of internet based communications, we need to ensure that the police and intelligence agencies continue to have the tools they need to do the job we ask of them: investigating crime and terrorism, protecting the vulnerable and bringing criminals to justice.”
Last April, director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti said that the proposed Communications Data Bill would ‘see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran.’
If the Bill goes ahead then it looks like Britain will have one more thing in common with the People’s Republic and one less thing in common than the Islamic one.
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