GUESS WHAT’S NOT SURPRISING? If you said the oppressive regime governing Iran has banned secure messaging app Telegram, then have a gold star*.
Iran’s judiciary made the decision to ban the app, according to Reuters, in a move to protect its national security, and follows on from previous discussions to ban the app after protests erupted across the country in December last year, with Telegram thought to have been a tool used to facilitate them.
“Considering various complaints against the Telegram social networking app by Iranian citizens, and based on the demand of security organisations to confront the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its usage in Iran,” Iran’s state TV reported, according to Reuters.
Iran’s judiciary website Mizan noted: “Those actions included propaganda against the establishment, terrorist activities, spreading lies to incite public opinion, anti-government protests and pornography.”
The court order made by the judiciary will force all of Iran’s internet service providers to take measures to block Telegram’s website and app fro 30 April. That includes working on ways to prevent techniques to circumvent the blocking of Telegram such as the use of virtual private networks.
The move will see some 40 million Iranian users left without access to the messaging service, but they’re being presented with an alternative messaging service in the form of the state-controlled Soroush.
We doubt that service will offer the hard-line take on privacy and message protection Telegram offers. But it does come with virtual stickers that state “Death to America” (seriously, we couldn’t make this up), which is a plus if you really hate claims of freedom, guns, massive food portions, and cheese on everything.
Iran isn’t the first nation with a heavy-handed government to ban Telegram; Russia also issues a court order to ban the app, though such a move saw a surge in VPN use as people worked to get around the ban. The moral of the story here is perhaps rigorous censorship of your citizens isn’t a good way to win their approval and compliance. µ
*gold star has no monetary value, cannot be exchanged for goods, and doesn’t even exist.
Source : Inquirer