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CNN10 2022-10-06

CNN 10

Iran Shuts Down Internet Amid Protests; U.S. Navy's Sea Trials. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired October 06, 2022 - 04:00 ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Coy Boy here aka Mr. Clean. Happy Friday eve.

Big show for you today, but only minutes to do it so let's get to it.

As we've previously reported, the nation of Iran has seen protests in more than 80 cities over the past few weeks after a young woman named Mahsa Amini was detained by the country's morality police for allegedly failing to wear a hijab or headscarf. They're mandated by national law.

Mahsa died in custody, prompting a nationwide response. Protesters, many of whom are women, are taking to the streets across the country in rare displays of defiance. Citizens are also challenging the government over religious rules and a failing economy.

The protests are gaining momentum but the government is cracking down on protesters who they say have made the streets dangerous and multiple casualties have been reported since the conflict began.

Experts say the protests are likely to continue as protesters seem bolder and more defiant than in previous demonstrations in 2019, 2017, and 2009.

This is posing an unprecedented challenge to the Iranian regime. The protesters themselves are also unique, transcending Iran's social and ethnic divisions.

We're going to hear more from CNN investigative producer Katie Polglase whose research looks at how the protests are spreading around the world on social media. Her research also looks into how Iran is restricting the internet in an attempt to crack down on dissent.

And before we get started, a note to everyone watching, CNN has contacted the U.S. and Iranian governments for comment but has yet to receive a response.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As protesters took to the streets of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, video clip of this uprising began to flood the Internet, making sure the world saw and heard the desire for change.

But then it went dark.

ALP TOKER, DIRECTOR AT NETBLOCKS: Starting with Instagram and WhatsApp and LinkedIn.

POLGLASE: NetBlocks is one of the global leaders on Internet monitoring. They quickly observed alarming electricity in Iran.

TOKER: What's astounding is the variety of Internet restrictions and disruptions that have been put in place.

POLGLASE: Users inside Iran confirmed the shutdown, sending CNN screenshots of sites they couldn't access.

The Iranian government has a long history of restricting the Internet. Protests in 2019 prompted the most severe shutdown to date, an attempt to hide from the world a violent crackdown on dissent.

But the Iranian people have become experts at finding work-arounds. A young tech savvy population, vast numbers of them use VPN, virtual private networks.

Now even this may be difficult. This teenager told us via text from inside Iran that the government is disabling VPNs one by one. However, the obstacles Iranians face have come not just from their own government, but also from the international community.

For the last decade, U.S. sanctions led many major tech companies to withdraw from Iran completely.

Mahsa Alimardani is an internet researcher focusing on freedom of expression online in Iran.

MAHSA ALIMARDANI, SENIOR INTERNET RESEARCHER, ARTICLE 19: There's a massive, you know, population of Iranian technologists, Iranian developers who rely on certain services like Google cloud platform or Google app engine. And so this has been basically blocked from the U.S. side because of sanctions. This had had a detrimental impact.

POLGLASE: Activists say that removing alternatives for Iranian users has actually bolstered the Iranian government's efforts to set up a national internet.

ALIMARDANI: Infrastructure stays local, the data stays local, the ability for the authorities to censor and control what is going on in the internet remains centralized into their hands.

POLGLASE: Following the latest protests, the U.S. Treasury finally announced updates to their sanctions in order to encourage tech companies to operate in Iran.

ALIMARDANI: It has been almost ten years that Iranians have had to wait for the update and the license. And while better late than never, it has been a belated action by the U.S. government and so there has been a lot of harm done in the interim.

POLGLASE: The onus is now on tech companies to act. Many large tech firms including Google and Meta have said they planned to open up new services to Iran after the U.S. announcement. But activists say they are doing a fraction of what's possible.

AMIR RASHIDI, DIRECTOR, DIGITAL RIGHTS & SECURITY, MIAAN GROUP: Iran is kind of isolated. So, we need to break that isolation. So, we need to see more help coming from other big tech companies like Google.

ALIMARDANI: The crucial services really have not been worked on yet. So there's a lot to be desired.

POLGALSE: Google told CNN ongoing legal or technical barriers may block the provision of certain services, but we are exploring whether additional products might be made available.

Meanwhile, those inside Iran remain frustrated at the inaction. This young Iranian told CNN, tech companies were restricting them and not the government.

Katie Polglase, CNN, London.



WIRE: Ten-second trivia:

Which one of these U.S. service academies would you find at Annapolis, Maryland?

The Military Academy, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, or the Coast Guard Academy?

Established in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy is in Annapolis, and it's where we're headed next.


WIRE: You're about to get a glimpse inside the hearts and minds of individuals who've decided to dedicate their lives to all of us. We had the rare privilege of visiting the U.S. Naval Academy to go through their vaunted sea trials. Not open to the public, it's a rite of passage for freshmen that includes 14 grueling hours of physical and mental challenges people are tested and pushed themselves to the brink of exhaustion.

But something magical happens when individuals dig deep and get support from their peers to become something greater than they ever were before.


WIRE: It's 2:30 in the morning and I'm in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy. I'm Coy Wire, and this is Sea Trials.



WIRE: I hope I'm not going to scratch my head.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're doing their exercises in the water, the wet and sandy, which sounds fun at 5:30 in the morning and 50-degree weather.

This shows them that they're only as strong as their weakest link. So, they learn how to work together, they learn how to communicate together.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These plebes are tired, their feet hurt. They're wet. They're sweaty. It's just a very long day for them physically and mentally.

WIRE: Hearts beating, feeling alive.


WIRE: No joke, baby. This is no joke.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're at pool phase right now. We have rifle overhead treads to (INAUDIBLE) degree in the water with a rifle over their head, treading and work on teamwork.

We will have a group of plebes going underwater and undoing locks while their teammates are out there are giving them the combination. So it's really a neat event, a great team building.


WIRE: Look at his determination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody here, we've been learning about everything, from leadership to building up each other encouragement, trust, all of that throughout the year. So this is like the combination of all that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going ahead to the endurance course.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey. Come on, guys. Finish strong!

WIRE: What kept you going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have so many people here that are looking out for me. Honestly, I have never felt anything like that before, like it gives me shivers.

WIRE: Does it inspire you to be that for someone else now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No doubt, no doubt.

WIRE: It's been 14 hours of blood, sweat and tears. They could have quit but they didn't. Sea Trials is done! (CHEERS)


WIRE: And for today's "10 out of 10", this new keyboard may not be your type. Google Japan invented a keyboard of the future. It's basically a stick that's more than five feet long. Creators say that two people can use it at the same time if you get keyboard or you can naturally be stretching your arms out at school all day if you're typing along. They also joke that it could be used to hit that far away light switch or even catch some bugs.

All right. Special shout out today to Coach Deals Rise class at Stripling Middle School in Fort Worth, Texas. Thanks for subscribing and commenting on our YouTube channel.

Fun fact for you, Texas is larger than any country in Europe.

Thank you all for watching. We hope you and everyone watching around the world have a wonderful one. I'm Coy Wire. This is CNN 10, and I'll see you tomorrow.