Iran has no unity in online filtering policy issue

Photo: Iran has no unity in online filtering policy issue / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 24

By Saeed Isayev, Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran has no unity in online filtering policy issue, former Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council secretary, Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi said, Iran`s Mehr news agency reported on Jan. 24.

"Since there's no unity, the problem of filtering remain unresolved. Smart filtering is possible in Iran, but it is not being implemented," he said.

In February 2013, Behabadi said that Iran will be launching a national filtering program, that would be carry out smartly - only partially blocking sites with "harmful content".

The idea seems to have been dropped, since the government of Iran continues to filter certain websites, saying that smart filtering is not possible technically.

Behabadi noted that although the government can resolve this problem, the view on the issue is the same as it was with the previous government.

"The filtering policies in Iran didn't change afte Hassan Rouhani took office in August, and that indicates there's no difference," he said.

Further speaking, Behabadi brought up an example of some Iranian officials favor the use of social networks in the country, while others want them to remain banned. He also said that such social networks as Twitter and Facebook are popular among Iranian teens.

"Imposing ban on such foreign services as Google search threatens the benefits of some officials in Iran," he said, without any further details.

Facebook and Twitter are banned in Iran, which doesn't mean Iranians are totally cut off from the world's most popular social websites. Visitors from Iran are able to log on both Twitter and Facebook via proxies - special IP addresses, which serves as a hub through which internet requests are processed.

The Iranian authorities banned Facebook and Twitter in summer of 2009, when ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election victory sparked massive protests that gained momentum with the help of organizers who used social media channels.

In September 2013, member of Iran's Committee on Internet filtering Mohammad Reza Aghamiri said that Iran should develop a smart filtering system for separating useful and harmful content on Facebook, after which the social network itself may be unblocked.

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