Iran ‘plans to spend $36 mln on Internet smart filtering’
The move is meant to strengthen the country's Internet censorship capabilities in collaboration with local universities
The Iranian government is spending $36 million to develop what has been called “smart filtering” in order to strengthen its Internet censorship capabilities, a report carried by International Campaign for Human Rights has revealed.
The project is to be completed in collaboration with several domestic universities, the report said. Smart filtering allows for selective blocking of content within a website, as opposed to the complete blocking or shutting down of an entire website.
According to the report, the initiative was announced by deputy Communications and Information Technology Minister Ali Asghar Amidian in an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) on Feb. 18, 2016.
Access to information
It reflects growing concern among hardliners in Iran over the state’s ability to control the citizenry’s access to information given the huge growth of Internet use in the country, said the report adding that it has been almost a decade since Iranian officials promised to introduce “smart filtering”, with limited success.
Even though a number of universities, namely Shahid Beheshti, will be receiving funds for helping the “smart filtering” project, as per Iranian officials, it is likely that the necessary hardware and software would be imported from abroad.
In recent years, Beijing, which boasts of having spent $770 million on its “Great Firewall of China” to control all incoming and outgoing online traffic, has been Iran’s main supplier of Internet censorship tools.