Skip to main content

Iran declares data handover deadline for foreign messaging apps

Iran internet
Iran is marching ahead with its digital clampdown as it looks to place tighter controls on foreign social media and messaging apps operating in the country.

Acting on orders from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace has issued strict new rules instructing foreign messaging companies to transfer all data linked to Iranian citizens into the country, which would involve establishing data servers within Iran.

Related Videos

Seeing as the popular Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, and its Asian rival Line, are both blocked in the country, it is thought that the new policy specifically targets encrypted chat app Telegram, reports Reuters.

The new guidelines dictate that messaging services have a year to move their data servers within Iran or risk facing censorship, according to the state news agency IRNA.

In the absence of the aforementioned more famous platforms, Telegram has managed to successfully accumulate 20 million users in Iran, which has a total population of about 80 million. This follows similar trends in other countries that have placed temporary bans on WhatsApp, including Brazil.

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov made reference to the growing pressure on his company to hand over data to the Iranian government in a tweet posted on October 20, 2015. “Iranian officials want to use @telegram to spy on their citizens. We can not and will not help them with that,” said Durov.

Iran is currently in the midst of a broader digital crackdown that recently saw it target female users of Instagram. Several arrests were made earlier this month in what Tehran’s Cybercrime Court described as a sting operation on obscene content. The alleged perpetrators were all either models or fashion industry patrons, leading some to believe that the investigation was a witch hunt against a particular, liberal section of society.

Even in the face of tough web censorship, Iranians are still using the Internet in droves. A government report last year showed that 67.4 per cent of the country’s youth are online, with 19.1 percent claiming that they use messaging apps, and 15.3 per cent on social media. It is also widely believed that Iran’s tech-savvy citizens are utilizing VPNs to access sites blocked by the government.

Iranian officials, on the other hand, freely use banned social networks. Both President Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister Javad Zarif have active Twitter accounts with large followings.

Editors' Recommendations

This Valentine’s Day, experts have 4 tips on how to avoid dating app scams
Dating scam.

The fest of love is nigh, and so is the risk of becoming the next victim of a dating app scam. Social media is brimming with videos of how you can get the best out of this Valentine’s Day, but only a few are talking about the bad actors that are ready to scam some gullible lovelorn soul on online dating apps.
It’s a huge business, and every year, people do end up heartbroken -- along with having a significantly lighter bank account. If you’ve been waiting for some credible research and scientists to give you valuable counsel, your wish has been granted. The folks over at Georgia State University teamed up with experts in criminal justice and cybersecurity to study the world of “romance fraud.”
All the research data was collected from victim testimonials and online platforms, amounting to over 10,000 such reports. What follows are some of the key findings that came out of the research.

Hold on to your emotions
Created using Dall-E 2

Read more
Twitter is down and not letting us tweet — it says users are over a daily limit [Update]
Error message on Twitter saying you are "over the daily limit for sending Tweets."

As of 6:10 p.m. ET, Twitter users appear to be able to tweet like normal once again. The original story is as follows:

It's nearly impossible to keep up with every new bug/feature/mishap at Twitter these days, but some are more noteworthy than others. Such is the case with today's bug (?), in which Twitter tells users that they are "over the daily limit for sending tweets."

Read more
TikTok should be expelled from app stores, senator says
TikTok icon illustration.

The wildly popular TikTok app continues to come under pressure from U.S. lawmakers.

Many are concerned that ByteDance, the Beijing-based company behind the app, has close ties with the Chinese government, and that laws in China mean it could be required to hand over user data to the government to assist in intelligence gathering.

Read more