Filtering social networks is not a solution - Iranian minister
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 1
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran's Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi said that filtering social networks is not a suitable solution technically, considering the fact that there are many of social networks.
As long as the networks' members avoid "criminal web content" and use the networks for useful goals, the administration will support them, Vaezi said, Iran's ISNA news agency reported Oct. 1.
The social networks are new cheap instruments for communication, he said, adding that in some countries the communication ministries see the networks as competitors which are seriously threatening the ministry's incomes.
ISNA also quoted Iran's Police Chief Brigadier General Esmayeel Ahmadi Moqaddam as saying that if the social networks follow the security and ethical norms, the police will not interfere.
Later in September the police chief said that "using social networks such as Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp is unavoidable in the age of communication."
Iran's Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei issued a one-month ultimatum for the government to ban such applications as WhatsApp, Viber and Tango, in a letter sent to Mahmoud Vaezi on Sept 20.
The prosecutor general warned that if the Iranian ministry of Communications fails to implement the order within one month, the Judiciary itself will take necessary action.
About 4.5 to 5 million of Iranian citizens use WhatsApp and Viber.
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.