The wall of filtering and restrictions has risen so high that it has left no room to breathe and has disrupted many businesses and made daily work difficult. One of the responses of the Ministry of Communications to criticisms about filtering, giving access to certain people or specialization of the Internet and differentiated access levels. Of course, this issue had already been raised and implemented experimentally.
At first, only the names of journalists, university faculty members, seminary activists, and doctors were revealed; But recently, freelancers and members of the union of computer technicians have also been added to it. Some government offices and institutions affiliated with government institutions have access to free and high-speed Internet with special VPNs.
In fact, what officials call specialization and differentiated access level and unfiltering for target groups is what we call it. Class internet we say; A process that limits the most important feature of the Internet, i.e. freedom of access to information, to criteria such as social status, job, education and, in fact, the legal personality of users. This means that in addition to the class gap created in the society from the economic and social point of view, we also have some special strata and some probably ordinary strata in accessing the Internet.
Why are we so opposed to differentiated access to the Internet, and even some of those whose names are in the list of groups with freer access to the Internet are also opposed and do not consciously use this type of Internet? During this time, in Zomit, we have talked with various groups such as sociologists, lawyers, university professors, media and technology experts about differential access, and each of them has opposed this issue from a point of view and sounded the alarm.
Zoomcast Zoomit about class internet
What does the law say about class internet?
Lawyers emphasize that the Internet is not a legal class. There is no mention of Internet access for some people and restrictions for others in the law of the country, and the government does not have the authority to legislate in this field. The parliament may also legislate for this issue; But it cannot make a law that causes discrimination or the growth of one group against another group and treats it in a tasteful way. In public law, we have a right called “the right to enjoy public services without discrimination”. The only place where it is not considered discrimination is access to information based on age due to the protection of children, which is in line with human rights and child rights laws.
International law does not accept class internet. Class internet is against the right of free access to information and the principle of non-discrimination also rejects the unequal access of different classes to the internet.
Internet redistribution creates corruption
Class internet creates corruption and rent; A kind of redistribution of the Internet, which is done by certain groups. They determine who can access how much of the internet and at what speed and stability. It is not known why this access permission is given to some people; Because there is no authority for it and the black market of Internet access may be created.
In this situation, those who do not have access will have to pay more to have class internet. Just like we are all breathing in the same space; But a group comes and puts a bubble on everyone’s head, and if we give money, a window will be created in this bubble. Now opening this door becomes a business for those who have taken over the distribution of the Internet.
The class internet is caused by a patronizing view
When it was mentioned about the trial implementation of removing the filter for certain groups, this group was introduced as those who “are believed not to be misused by having free internet”. This sentence conveyed a caring look. Remember the time when Google Safe Search was activated for all of us in Iran. Who allowed the level of access of adults to the free Internet to be limited and then, based on criteria, a part of this access returned to a certain group? Filtering authorities distinguish the access level of groups according to their own criteria and assume that people do not have the power to distinguish about their needs.
The internet normalizes class filtering
Class internet does not benefit the common people and blocks the way to growth and progress. One of the ways of technology growth and development of the Internet is the normal and everyday use of the Internet and the easy access of people. Also, easy and free access to the Internet is one of the ways to reduce the distance between the marginal groups and the center and reduce the gaps in access to facilities for growth. In contrast, a class-based internet creates a digital divide, with those not in certain groups either unable to access it at all or having to pay more for it.
With a classy Internet, public filtering may become more widespread and even commonplace. When different groups have access to the Internet at different and distinct levels, there is no such thing as a common Internet experience. Various websites and platforms are out of reach of the public and the Internet becomes very slow, without causing any problems in the professional activity of some special groups. In this case, it may be recognized that the general public does not need these services that are not filtered now, and they will be blocked.
A classed internet could make filtering normal and the fight for free internet access more costly and difficult than it is today.
Probably, in this situation, disabling all foreign VPNs will face fewer obstacles; Because all these groups that are supposed to have freer access to the Internet with the class internet plan, are vocal groups in the society and their voices are heard more due to their position. If they have access, they will no longer notice the disruptions that the general public is facing, and this can make the demand for open Internet access less visible and the fight for Internet access more costly and difficult than it is today.
The possibility of being controlled in class internet
Class internet is not free even for members of groups that can have free internet. One of the prerequisites for access to class internet is validation and authentication, and requests are checked and verified by providing identity. This makes it easier for filtering institutions to control, and people’s privacy may be lost when using the Internet.
The level of proportional access of people in the world is different from class Internet. In those countries, internet access is free for everyone; But some groups have wider and easier access to some facilities
Officials and supporters of class internet say that the access level of people to the internet is not the same anywhere in the world; But they do not explain about this issue. In most countries, there is an internet network and everyone can access it without restrictions; But based on job needs and locations, certain policies are followed that make access easier and wider. For example, school internet has most of the appropriate content for this age group, and in the university you can have easier access to databases and scientific articles, or the internet in the store has faster payment speed and more security.
In the meantime, what is supposed to be implemented in Iran as the difference in the level of access of different people, has been implemented in only a few countries, the most important of which is China. In China, only some research and academic centers have access to a certain level of the Internet, and most people are deprived of it. In North Korea, only academic centers can access a limited part of the Internet. Bangladesh, India and Russia have also classified the Internet in some cases; But they have also defined the limitations and clarified their reasons.
Officials usually give examples of children who should not have access to all kinds of information. There is no difference in this matter, because the protection of children in the cyberspace has come about as a result of the collective wisdom of nations. However, there is no collective agreement about the limitations that adults experience in the country. The fact that we are all constantly looking for a filter breaker shows that the common sense does not agree with this level of internet restrictions and that class internet cannot solve our dissatisfaction with these restrictions.