Iran doesn't have a great track record when it comes to allowing free access to the internet, but the government's latest move is truly scary in its scope.
Previously, we've seen the Iranian regime block access to various sites, such as Gmail and YouTube back in February, when the government feared a major protest was being organised.
However, now the plan is to censor the entire internet, effectively switching it off and replacing it with a "clean" intranet - similar to a business intranet whereby only admin approved pages can be accessed.
The rest of the web won't be accessible, with only select foreign sites on a whitelist being reachable by Iranian citizens.
The first phase of the big switch off begins next month, when major sites such as Google and Hotmail will be blocked, and replaced by "Iran Mail" and "Iran Search Engine". Iran Mail will be tied to a person's real life identity, carrying their national ID, full name and address.
The full intranet system will then be launched in August, switching off the rest of the net, save for the sanitised corners which the government feels are okay to whitelist.
Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, noted: "All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August."
It's beyond scary, really. We expect Anonymous will be polishing their keyboards in readiness for some "hacktivist" action pretty soon, as they're unlikely to let this slide.
Source: International Business Times