Why Iran’s Internet Shutdown Is A Stark Warning For Russia
Amid protests over increasing fuel prices, Iran shut down the internet to prevent images and videos from spreading internationally and to hinder the organization of protests. The shutdown was described by NetBlocks as very complex, as it took 24 hours to put into effect. On November 16th, large mobile network operators MCI, Rightel, and IranCell fell offline. The shutdown has been declared the most severe internet block to take place in any country to date. Although the situation in Iran may seem localized, a recent Freedom on the Net report stated that monitoring of citizens’ access to information has become endemic and impacts 90% of internet users globally.
Earlier this month Russian President Vladimir Putin secured internet shut down capability, and the international backlash that Iran currently faces should serve as a warning to Putin and his “kill switch.” Freedom on the Net also warned that Russian citizens face increasing restrictions on internet freedom, including prohibiting online anonymity and censorship. In August, Russian authorities shut down Moscow’s three main mobile network operators MTS, MegaFon, and VimpelCom to prevent the gathering of protestors denouncing Putin’s rule. The Iran internet shutdown may reoccur and should serve as a warning to Russia’s citizens.