There were recent reports that Iran blacked out the Internet and for thirty minutes on Tuesday, the Web went blank on that country where freedom of speech and information has never really been high on the list of priorities.
Ron Deibert — director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab research centre at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto—sees more than just some kind of technical glitch here and warned of dark clouds on the horizon recently for freedom in cyberspace.
He called the whole episode the beginning of a perfect storm where cyber warfare in all its different forms will take the place of many of the geopolitical conflicts we’ve seen in the past. What it all means is experts in the field are warning us that Big Brother knows how important and effective the web can be and is taking steps to control it.
Deibert goes on in the article to say he thinks that the lockdown of the web was more than just a temporary situation, and that the Iranians were in fact testing what they call a ‘National Internet’ that will control all the sites that are allowed into the country.
“To me, this is changing the very architecture of the Internet,” Mr. Deibert said in an interview this week at an academic conference in Toronto that was reported in the National Post in Canada. “The digital curtain is going up all over the place. You can imagine the conversations that happen in, say, Belarus. In the past, these governments would just censor access to a few websites, but in the wake of the Arab Spring, what are they thinking: How do you nationalize this technology?”
It seems that years after one Iron Curtain crumbles, another one is being set up in cyberspace.
And of course what would a discussion on restricting the Internet be without mentioning China? The GhostNet cyber spy ring was discovered by Deibert’s team in 2009, and this Chinese ring was found to be spying on NATO operations in Germany, foreign embassies globally, and even the Dalai Lama’s American headquarters.
Still we can’t just wag our fingers at the people in other countries when it comes to curtailing cyberspace. Let’s not forget The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is being considered right here in North America and here the US government would have the power to shut down websites that were suspected of breaching copyright laws.
Over there they control their Internet to give religious and political institutions power over the people. Here we do it for big business.