After arresting 8 people for their instagram photos and another 8 for “indecent music videos”, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace has once again focused its attention on foreign social media websites.
Iran already has some of the strictest rules on internet access, blocking websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Many users, however, find a way to bypass such filters through the use of specialized software.
The Iranian regime’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace has declared that “”Foreign social media active in the country must transfer to Iran all the data they hold on Iranian citizens into the country in order to ensure their continued activity”, a statement that raised security and privacy concerns for many Iranians who use social media.
This new tightening of control over social media is mostly targeted toward Telegram, an app that allows users to exchange messages with end-to-end encryption that delete themselves after a set amount of time. The mullahs’ regime already actively monitors emails, phones, and every form of electronic communication. By forcing service providers to store the data within the country, it will be much easier for the regime’s authority to tighten its grip on what the secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace Abolhasan Firouzabadi defined as “un-islamic acts”.
The Iranian regime already arrested 20 administrators of Telegram groups last November, followed more recently by arrests of Instagram users and show-business personalities. This latest crackdown further empowers the regime against its citizen’s freedom of speech and expression, as some Iranian already stated on the net.
Twitter user @Gonahkar stated that “I would stop using #Telegram if the servers are moved inside the country because it would not be safe anymore”, with more reactions echoing from the international community.
IRNA, the Iranian regime’s state news agency, also stated that the committee had also decided to work on an Iranian-born social media to compete with foreign networks.