In a sound byte that might remind you of Baghdad Bob*, Iran’s police chief has announced that Google is a tool for spying. And not only that, but the Iranian government is also using that and other concerns to form a “national internet” under state control.
Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam made his comments this week to the Iranian Labour News Agency (original article), and the story — as you can imagine — has been picked up by a number of other media outlets. As Israel’s Arutz Sheva reports, Moghaddam says a state-controlled internet will help protect Iran from its enemies:
Establishing a ‘halal’ Internet based on Islamic law will allow the Ahmadinejad regime to make sure unwanted material does not appear on social network services, which were instrumental in the protests against the allegedly rigged reelection of Ahmadinejad more than two years ago.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA announced on Sunday that the country’s own Internet network will solve problems with costs, security and bandwidth. The new network is to become operational in a few weeks and will not need international bandwidth for domestic connection.
There’s a little bit of history here beyond the use of the internet and social networks as a protest tool in Iran (and elsewhere). Earlier this year, Google finally began allowing web users in Iran to download apps such as Google Earth, Picasa and Chrome. Last year, some in Iran were angered when they discovered a Star of David atop the Iran Air headquarters on Google Maps and Google Earth.
* Don’t remember Baghdad Bob? See WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.com for a reminder.