Supreme Council of Cyberspace with Hassan Rouhani heading the council approved that all the messaging apps’ data and servers for Iranian users should be stored inside the country.

This is not the first time that we hear Iranian officials talking about this matter in the past year. Before, former secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace Hassan Entezari, a few members of parliament, members of the Censorship Working Group and Cyber Police commanders stated that Telegram should move its servers inside Iran’s borders in order to continue its activities. Meanwhile Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov rejected these requests many times and Telegram continued to work with no problems in Iran. But this time, things might actually change since Supreme Council of Cyberspace officially approved that Telegram should move the Iranian user’s data inside the country.


Proponents argument

Social networks are using encryption technologies to keep the privacy of their users, and it’s not possible for the government to implement smart censorship on these networks. “To prevent the possible damages of criminal content on these social networks we should take three basic steps: First, we shouldn’t let any social network that is associated with foreign enemies or foreign intelligence services to work in the country. Second, we should only give permits to the social networks that are not an enemy of Iran with three terms: They should fully comply with the Iranian law, transfer their servers inside the country for their Iranian users and obtain necessary permits from competent authorities. The third and the most important step is strengthening the domestic social networks against the external damages that foreign social networks might cause,” said Secretary of Committee of Criminal Content Determination, Abdul Samad Khorram Abadi.

“Unfortunately, in developed countries only those social networks that moved their servers inside the country and comply with the country’s law are allowed to work. But in Iran, foreign social networks can operate without any permits.”

Even Iran’s Cyber Police chief, Kamal HadianFar, believes that Telegram should move its servers inside the country for Iranian users. “Most of our crimes in cyberspace such as ISIS activities, moral crimes, and many other cases are happening on Telegram. With respect to the international laws, Telegram should move its servers in Iran,” said Hadian Far. “Telegram’s CEO stated since Iran is under sanctions and they can’t move the servers inside the country but and at the same time, they are using Iran’s cyberspace.”

Right now Telegram is using a considerable amount of Iran’s international bandwidth since the data should be sent to Telegram’s servers which are outside of the country. According to Reza Taghipour, a member of Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, 40% of Iran’s international bandwidth is used by Telegram.

With this fact in mind, Iran’s request for storing Iranian users’ data inside the country is an acceptable request, since this bandwidth could be used to provide a better internet connection for other purposes.


Photo: Courtesy of edoramedia

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