Iran to filter social networks once domestic versions are ready
Tehran, Iran, Jan. 30
By Milad Fashtami - Trend:
Iran will filter foreign social networks, as soon as domestic replacements are available, said Iran's Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi.
He said the ministry cannot filter social networks right away since for Iranians there are no alternatives yet, Fars News Agency reported on Jan. 30.
"If the filtering is applied, people will use proxies to get access to the social networks," he said, adding that this will only cause hardship for people.
"Filtering Instagram and using two new platforms instead has resulted in a 83-percent success rate," the minister noted.
"The new systems will be used to filter other social networks as well," he added.
Vaezi said on Jan. 24 that the ministry is encouraging universities and the private sector to create domestic social networks.
"Until then, we don't have any plan to filter the current available social networks, since the ministry's goal is not to limit the people," he noted. "However, I believe that foreign networks collect data from Iranian users and use them to pursue their own goals."
Vaezi has repeatedly supported the free use of social networks despite the conservatives' pressures.
It should be noted that several of world's most popular networks, such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in Iran, while users are still able to access them via proxies. A proxy allows bypassing 'gates' meant to block certain sites.
A survey by Iranian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports indicates that 69.3 percent of the country's young generation use proxy servers to by-pass the filters and access banned Internet websites.
About four million Iranians are using Facebook, according to the culture minister, Ali Jannati who is himself a user of the website.
Iran previously announced plans to launch a smart filtering system for websites that provides access to users based on their condition and identity.
The Managing Director of Iran's Telecommunication Infrastructure Company Mahmoud Khosravi said in December that the system is pretty much like parental control.
"The content will be blocked in the access layer, instead of international gateway," he explained.
"The access layer will be defined based on ISPs, operators, or provinces. We haven't decided on that yet," Khosravi said.
Vaezi said in November that the smart filtering system will determine which parts of a website are criminal. So just those parts will be blocked and the rest will be accessible.
"The project is expected to come on stream in 10 months," Vaezi said, praising the efforts of domestic experts.
Vaezi said on Nov. 15 that the ministry is in talks with foreign hosts to manage the mobile social network applications inside the country.
"The ministry wants to refine the internet and create a safe atmosphere for the users," Vaezi said.