iGmena : Internet censorship in Iraq

Before the US invasion of Iraq, the country used to suffer from extremely poor Internet connection as well as filtering and censorship practiced by state authorities. This resulted in low Internet penetration since citizens where cautious about online activities. After the invasion, we expected the telecommunication sector will grow rapidly; however, on the contrary, it went through slow improvement for years characterised by new emergence of hacking and spyware apps that were spread out across the networks.

An incident happened personally to me some time ago while I was reading an article online, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) started a chat with me commenting on this article. Regretfully, I could not complain or report this violation because of the absence of Internet related legislation that criminalises cybercrimes.

The situation was slightly ameliorated when a big company like EarthLink started operating in Iraq and provided good services, notwithstanding the constant surveillance practiced by the government. Despite the competitive market we have in Iraq where private sector competes to deliver a good quality service to customers, there is still a lack of confidence in local ISPs since there are no laws governing this field.

Nowadays, the government is building its own “underground” network with a tendency to block pornography along with other undesirable websites. This means that Iraq went from fascism (before 2003) to extreme right-wing policies (“new” era in Iraq). It raises also questions concerning the rights and freedoms stated in the constitution and the right to (proper) Internet access.

A recommended solution for Iraqi people to stand up against government censorship and fight against local ISPs trespass on e-possessions. They, moreover, should establish civil society organisations to collect signatures and advocate for their right to a good law and legislation that protect freedoms.


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