Iran Takes First Step To Launch National Internet

Iran has announced that it has completed the first phase of a plan to launch its own “national internet”. The country's Communications and IT minister said at a launch ceremony that the idea was intended to provide "high quality, high speed" connections at "low costs", but it has been suggested that it would further restrict citizens' freedom on the web. The government announced the idea back in 2010, saying the purpose would be to create a domestic intranet that would promote Islamic content and expand digital awareness in Iran. Expected to be completed by March 2017, it is insisted that users' privacy will be respected, but the idea has attracted criticism from a British human rights group who called the potential isolation of Iranians “especially concerning”.