Iran has announced plans to implement the first phase of a "National Internet" in late August.
Authorities have described the initiative as an effort to "better manage national emails and information gathering within the country and to improve security," according to a report by the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters without Borders
Rights advocates believe the project is the latest element in a longstanding campaign to strengthen censorship and surveillance inside Iran, and have described it as an effort to impose a self-contained "intranet
" inside the country.
The Iranian government ruthlessly seeks to control information transmission and communication both inside and outside the country's borders. It has stood up a "cyber army" to combat unauthorized Internet use and labeled social media networks as subversive, prosecuting bloggers
along with independent journalists
, RFE's Persian-language service, reported last week that the regime had opened a Facebook page mimicking
its own to discredit it and confuse visitors.