Somewhere in Iran, there are terabytes of data - unseen photos, unwatched videos and unread words that have captured events that have yet to be seen by those of us in the "West."
The Ahmadinejad regime has struggled to tamp out communication among the Iranian people, now keeping it to a very slow drip. Hardly anything comes out from Iran these days, unlike the deluge that we have seen in the past. Keep in mind, Iran is the biggest blogging nation in the world outside of the United States. The culture there, with a majority of the population being young, is a wired culture. Hell, we are a wired planet, so why should Iran be any different?
Inside Iran blogs are down, tweets are non-existent, cell phone service is a joke and the web is a firewalled ghost town. But here comes the problem - the Ahmadinejad regime knows the people of Iran are pissed beyond belief and the people know what the government did to the people - those images of Neda are NOT going to go away anytime soon. The regime also knows that they are sitting on a powder keg of frustration and their only move is to keep the internet out of the hands of the people. It isn't a question of blocking the West, the incriminating data is inside the country - on cell phones, cameras and camcorders and all sorts of digital recording devices. The data is stored in Iran and the regime cannot afford to allow it to leak to the West or even to the west side of Tehran. An Azure Curtain, an analogy to the Soviet's Iron Curtain, has to fall across Iran and the regime has to hope that will be enough, but it won't.
The Ahmadinejad regime is screwed long term (maybe even short term). They cannot hope to keep a smart, empowered population like Iran in the dark for long. Data will start flowing with the use of USB drives, CDs and home produced DVDs that will contain unseen images - all of which will spread like a virus. But knowing Iranians, this is probably already underway. Then someone will sneak a thumbdrive out of the country and more stuff will be dumped to the web.
Iran cannot hope to remain a modern country without the web. Hospitals, educators, manufacturers, banks, shopkeepers, everyone in that country benefits from the web and the only way the Ahmadinejad regime can keep control is to shut off the web and drive their population to the level of North Korea - a complete sequestration of Iranians from the world and each other - that is the regime's only viable step.
The regime cannot stay in power when a huge swath of their population are bloggers and citizen journalists. Benjamin Franklin would be proud, Khamenei is probably horrified.
NOTE: I know, I know - this really isn't a LGBT topic, my apologies.