Iran Plans To Filter Immoral SMS And MMS Transmissions

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Iran’s Telecommunications Ministry has now announced that it plans to start filtering out any immoral video and audio messages sent via mobile phones. Of course, the key sentence in the article is: “It did not give details of the techniques it would use to filter such messages, when it would start or how it would define “immoral” messages.” It’s one of those things that may sound nice to overly paternalistic governments, but is impossible to accomplish in real life. Do they plan to have people actually reviewing every text and video message before it gets sent? That clearly will never work (or, will simply guarantee that the messaging becomes close to useless). Or, more likely, they’ll buy some crappy filtering software to try to pick up on “naughty” words, which won’t work very well and will probably just cause more problems than it solves (assuming you believe immoral messages are a problem in the first place). It’s always amusing to see governments make claims like this when it’s simply impossible for them to actually achieve what they claim.

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Comments on “Iran Plans To Filter Immoral SMS And MMS Transmissions”

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rEdEyEz says:

Opportunity Knocks

Sounds to me like the perfect opportunity to subvert the Iranian Powers-that-be….

Unless they have an isolated cellular network, with state sponsored access, (not), they’re blowing smoke up the virtual digital hijab/burka of the modern islamic world.

Is the world ready for a digital extention of the Sharia Law?

…only when you are able to kiss my digital ass.

moe says:

Re: Sophocles said

Has anyone considered that maybe this is a bluff? Perhaps they made the announcement in hopes that just warning that they would be surveilling the content would decrease people sending it? I’m in no way an expert on Iranian culture, but if your combined govt/religious leadership is denouncing it, a bluff may be all you need for a large swath of the population.

Maybe they’ll throw in a generic word-filter, just to add a touch of realism.

Wolferz (profile) says:

time to state the obvious...

…since no one but me seems to have noticed.

Has no one yet realized that the government is basically looking for a way to sensor political unrest? Considering this is almost certainly the intended goal (or at the very least the end result) it is likely they would spare no effort or cost to achieve it to the best level possible. Over the counter software is not bloody likely for an application on which their government’s stability could one day hinge.

Also, word filters are not hard to implement. With negligible coding experience and very little effort it was possible to hack a feature like this into the production ircd hosting a few hundred users that works extremely well and NEVER produces false positives. With a reasonably competent coder and some time and money behind it, it is possible to have reasonably reliable coding for entire word patterns.

As for problems, blocking a few hundred legit text messages per week is no big deal when your trying to control the minds of your population.

hopscotch says:

of course

Of course its just to read what people are saying. Sure, the guise of a thecratic government would give them the ability to claim moral filtering – but its undoubtably a way to monitor what is being said in their country – as well as who is saying it. Im surprised the US hasn’t found a way to weasle this into homeland security yet.

Anonymous Coward says:

actually i can see this working, using some sort of bayesian methods, it would at first let everything through, some messages are reviewed by hand, and marked ‘go-nogo’ as a training set..

it gets better over time, never perfect but maybe close enough.

in effect you have a spam filter where instead of adverts being blocked its stuff ‘someone’ doesn’t like, probably very broadly defined. but it would work *if*

1, its left running for a while to train it, no instant results
2, you don’t mind it not being perfect.

Anonymous Coward says:

As we all know, nearly almost plastic products around you was made through plastic injection molding – the mouse you are using to click, the PET containers you use to store water or food, and also China printing can help us made the labels to attract potential customers and steel and aluminum made scaffolding made for the purpose of construction and renovation works.

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