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No more internet in Iran?


Earlier this year the White House confirmed that computer viruses which targeted and brought down sections of Iran's nuclear enrichment programme were a product of joint American-Israeli cyber-espionage. In response to this and other online attacks Iran is threatening to take its networked computer system off the web, closing the country's digital borders. Misha Glenny, author of Dark Market, an expose of internet crime, writes on this dramatic development.

"This will represent a major step in the fragmentation of the internet into a series of giant intranets, each subject to the specific regulations of individual nation states. The move reduces Iran's risk of being infected by new viruses, though it will not eliminate it completely. But it would also be a devastating blow to ordinary Iranians, Iranian commerce and Iranian academics who keep abreast of global research through the net."

US officials have condemned the idea - but Washington is in a bit of a fix, being partly responsible for Iran's cyber paranoia. "The problem for the state department is that Iran is doing this because of attacks instigated primarily by Washington under its so-called Olympic Games programme. The US and Israel have embraced cyber-espionage with an eagerness that is being emulated by countries around the globe."