RE: "that first paragraph was meant to be irony."
"American Imperialist Data Harvesters"
And the ironic bit was?*
*This is also irony.
Iran has moved to protect its citizens’ privacy against American Imperialist Data Harvesters*; unfortunately for Iranians, the plan involves taking the whole country off the Internet. International Business Times is reporting that the country’s plan to set up a national intranet – its notorious “clean Internet” – will be …
And with that I'm not referring to visiting a BBS to download software and such, I'm of course referring to the whole 'echomail' (comparable to UseNet) and 'netmail' (e-mail) structures.
A mere mail client such as timEd (or the better known GoldEd) is enough to actually read & write messages, then you need a mailer & tosser (I used 'Portal of Power' and 'FMail' in the days) which can package up ('toss') and send (the mailer part) all your stuff across a regular phone line. Of course a modem would come in handy too.
Sure; its not real time, but its the one thing a government won't be able to block on a whim. Well, they could but usually they won't; people are granted phone access. And should worse come to worst; in "our" days we could fit a /whole/ lot of mail material (echomail & netmail alike) onto a single 1.44" floppy. Now try to imagine what you can achieve with a common memory stick ?
Worst case: you smuggle the whole thing across a border or, if international calls are possible, setup a so called "FidoNet <-> Internet relay". That will make sure that 'netmail' gets converted to regular e-mail and echomail... well, you do the math :-)
So while things might look totally hopeless for some youngsters there are actually still plenty of options left for electronic communication. Even mass-communication if you want to.
The main downside, obviously, is the latency. This won't be real time, but if you setup a good infrastructure then who cares if an e-mail takes more than a week to get answered?
(that was the time it took for my very first netmail ("e-mail") to be answered which I send using FidoNet to a friend of mine)
"you do the math :-)"
I do like that phrase. Almost invariably when it's used, the "math" is basic arithmetic. Glad you put the smiley there.
Meanwhile, back on topic, would it actually matter all that much other than to Iranians if Iran went "dark" on t'internet?
Yes, I think so.
The problem that the Iranian government have with its citizens is that they're a bit too well informed. There's a strong, young, pro-democracy movement who are well educated and quite well versed in the use of modern technology. They represent something of a threat to the status quo.
When they can't communicate with the rest of the world, and when their only news source is government filtered propaganda, their ability to change their situation for the better is impaired. Thus the current Iranian government carries on as it likes, something that's not necessarily good for the rest of us.
There are a few new things since BBSs first appeared.. There are broadband satellites, for example. Presumably Iranians have friends overseas who can pay for a subscription? So old-style BBSs with small bandwidth requirements could still be connected to the internet in near realtime. Also with a wireless connection to the Iranian net, it would be pretty hard for the authorities to catch someone in the act of operating the router.
The dissenters could even play them at their own game and set up their own open network of ad-hoc peer to peer routers. Sounds like a good use for loads of cheap Rasberry Pi boards. Deploy and forget. Pringles-tube directional antennae to make it hard for the authorities to locate them, if they aren't in the know. With friends in adjacent countries it could even jump the borders. Some time ago I read about battlefield networking using golfball-sized nodes just scattered out of aeroplanes or missiles. A demilitarised version ought to be do-able for £50/node and falling. Maybe something the a news networks should develop, for places like Syria today, and a horribly likely future Iran.
"Interesting times". Is it actually possible to take a whole country off the internet? Ghadaffi tried it in the dying days of his rule, and failed. Now Iran is about to try. I hope they also fail.
"a national intranet"
That's an internet, son. It's just not the capital-I Internet.
"Intranet" is a pointless coinage used by people who don't know what an internet (a network of networks) is.
Lawn, kids, etc.
 True, "intranet" appears in two RFCs, presumably authored by the reasonably knowledgeable. Those two RFCs are informational, not standards-track, and they don't define the term, much less explain how it's distinguished from "internet".
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