Iran Proposes Killing Bad Bloggers, EU Proposes Tracking Everyone

Iranian Blogger Risk Death - Atleast Those Not In Power.The Iranian parliament is moving toward enforcing the death penalty as a punishment for blogging that encourages “corruption, prostitution or apostasy.” As I wrote last month, there are about 40 bloggers imprisoned worldwide. Blogs are filtered, and bloggers are deterred, but this is the first law that would try to eliminate bloggers altogether.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured above) seems pretty happy with his own blog, though he’s not had time to post to it recently. In fact, Iran is a hotbed of blogging. According to Technorati’s State of the Live Web report, Iran’s official language, Persian, is the tenth most popular blogging language in the world. So others in Iran—and beyond its borders—are blogging actively.

Meanwhile, the EU has proposed creating a massive database to keep a running record of all phone calls, website visits and emails. UK Shadow Home Secretary David Davis raised some doubts about the plan, saying, “Given [ministers’] appalling record at maintaining the integrity of databases holding people’s sensitive data, this could well be more of a threat to our security than a support.”

In both of these cases, states are taking overly blunt policy approaches to their citizens’ use of electronic media. Both are fairly obvious reactions (keep records, make threats), but because of the Internet’s scale, both seem likely to lead to troublesome unintended consequences. There’s no certainty that the UK could effectively parse the aggregated data from all electronic personal communications, let along protect them from misuse. And there’s no certainty that blogging martyrs wouldn’t become a moral albatross for Iran in any number of global forums.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that knee-jerk reactions by governments can lead to costly policy errors. And these both seem like the hasty, broad actions that are debacles in the making.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.