Iran’s telecommunications minister has said his technicians are developing a system to identify any Internet user in the country at the moment of log-on. He didn’t reveal how exactly this would be done.
“Because of our efforts, in future when people want to use the Internet they will be identified, and there will be no web surfer whose identity we do not know,” Mahmoud Vaezi said, without elaborating on how this would technically be done.
Earlier this year, the “moderate” President called on some of the country’s most hard-line clerics to relax their attitude towards the web, saying that an open internet is essential to be able to educate the nation’s youth, to give them greater “knowledge and science” capabilities.
His government was given one month to ban social networking apps, or the judiciary would take matters into their own hands. Well, it appears they are doing just that.
The authorities regularly block access to networks including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter since public protests against the 2009 re-election of Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In October 2014, Iran prevented access to an Instagram page devoted to the lifestyle of Tehran’s young elite that stirred indignation in the sanctions-hit country.
Running alongside this plan is one that will block harmful and offensive content found on websites, which means that the majority of content available for Iranians to access will be governmental propaganda.
Mahmoud Vaezi told the Isna new agency that “The first phase of smart on-line filtering will be ready within a month, the second phase within three months and a third within six months.”
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Official figures show that more than 30 million people out of Iran’s total population of 75 million use the Internet.
A recent study found that 69% of young users use special software to bypass official restrictions.
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