Tech

Iran Cracks Down On Encryption, Arresting Administrators Of Secure Messaging App

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Steve Ambrose Contributor

Unfortunately, you can add another victory for Iran in the ever present war on free expression.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has arrested over 20 chat groups on Telegram, the private messaging app, due to allegations of spreading “immoral content,” Reuters reported Nov. 15.

The IRGC claimed the groups were using Telegram’s encrypted messaging to share images and texts containing sexual advice and criticisms of Iranian officials. Satirical messages were also classified as “immoral.” (RELATED: Elite Iranian Military Unit Suspected Of Hacking White House Officials)

Iran’s deputy police chief and spokesman Brigadier General Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi confirmed to the state news site Fars News Agency that the group administrators were arrested and placed in the custody of judicial officials. (RELATED: Iran Responsible For Nearly 200 US Deaths In Iraq, Report Says)

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the branch of the Iranian government that is responsible for the postal service, phones and information technology. The public relations head for the ICT, Mohammad Reza Farnaghizadeh, allegedly informed Telegram previously that in order to operate within the country, they must make steps to block the publication of “immoral content.”

“If any social media platforms, including Telegram, aim to continue their activities in Iran, they must abide by our regulations as well as red lines and remove any pages carrying immoral content,” Farnaghizadeh said.

This recent clash is an escalation of the back-and-forth between Telegram and Iran over free expression. (RELATED: Russia Finalizes Deal To Sell S-300 Missiles To Iran)

Pavel Durov, the founder and chief executive officer for Telegram, claimed Oct. 23 that the Iranian government temporarily shut down the messaging service because they refused to install a secret surveillance backdoor for the government. Durov was eventually told by officials from the ICT that the shut down was “not authorized by any higher authorities,” according to Reuters. (RELATED: Iran Demands Censorship Tools For App, CEO Says Nah)

Iran is one of the most repressive regimes on the globe. (RELATED: Put Rouhani To Test By Placing Human Rights At The Center Of His European Tour)

Telegram, in addition to Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are all blocked completely or filtered in Iran.

Iran is not just trying to block websites, they also apparently tried censor a photograph Oct. 28.

Iran recently re-aired a speech delivered by the current leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1984. A background photo of Hussein-Ali Montazeri, a popular dissident from the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which was in the original video, was noticeably whitewashed in the re-airing. (RELATED: Iran Literally Just Erased A Guy From History)

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.