Homebrew is a term usually found in certain circles of gamers and “hacker types.” Typically when one speaks of homebrew, one is referring to some type of custom software or software/hardware setup that alters the “out of the box” functionality of a device such as XBox 360, Wii, etc. to allow the unit to perform additional functions that the manufacturer did not intend. These are also often referred to as “mods.”
Why am I telling you this?
Well, it appears that the Iranian Government has announced that it will be launching a “homebrew” version of the internet. Actually, they are proposing to completely disconnect from the rest of the world’s internet network, and replace it with a state provided network. Officials in Iran have said that the new network will be in-place within two years, and expect to have roughly 60% of all current internet users conneted by then. The project, initiated by the country’s communications ministry, is part of the repressive Iranian government’s plans to limit exposure of Western cultures and ideas
One big question that comes to mind is whether or not the total disconnection of the world wide web is possible. Even if it isn’t, you can rest assured Iran will try. They are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the current levels of control over their people. According to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei, this plan is part of the country’s “soft war” on the West, and will help further instill Islamic moral values on Iran’s people.
The national Internet plan follows a wave of demonstrations and protests — commonly referred to as the Arab Spring — that swept across the Middle East and northern Africa, helped, in large part, by the use of social media services like Facebook and Twitter.
Because of the effectiveness of these services, many of the targeted regimes attempted to cut off Internet access to their citizens during the periods of protest and unrest. In Egypt — where protesters succeeded in toppling the government — fallen President Hosni Mubarak has been fined $34 million for his attempts to block Internet and mobile phone access during the political upheaval.
With 11 in 100 Iranians estimated to be Internet users, the country is seen as one of the most connected nations in the Middle East. But not for long, if the government gets its way.