Iran Sends Warning SMS Messages To Potential Protestors
from the big-brother-is-txting-you dept
Mobile phone service and things like texting are pretty popular in Iran, and we’ve seen how Iranian officials have struggled to deal with that in the past. For example, one politician threatened revenge against anyone who sent negative text messages about him, and the government has also announced that it will filter out text messages it deems inappropriate or immoral. But rather than just trying to block or condemn the technology, it looks like officials are now looking to use it to warn against dissent as well. On The Media points us to the news that the government has been sending text messages to mobile phone subscribers it believes are planning to take part in protests, marking the one year anniversary of last June’s election protests, warning them not to take part:
The message, which has the Ministry’s emergency phone number, 113, reads, “Dear citizen, according to received information, you have been influenced by the destabilising propaganda which the media affiliated with foreign countries have been disseminating. In case of any illegal action and contact with the foreign media, you will be charged as a criminal consistent with the Islamic Punishment Act and dealt with by the Judiciary”.
You may remember, last year, many people credited text messaging and services like Twitter for helping to get the news out about what was actually happening during the protests. This bit of news is a reminder that two can play at that game, and governments can often use the same technology to try to stifle dissent. This isn’t a condemnation of the technology, of course, but just a reminder that the technology can be used for a variety of different purposes.