Sun, July 10, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iranian Top cyber police official: Facebook may be unblocked in the future
Touraj Kazemi, the head of the cyber police crime fighting division, reported this week that Facebook, a social network currently blocked in Iran, may be unblocked in the future.
In an interview to the Rouzgar newspaper, Kazemi said that people who use social networks are not criminals unless they violate computer crime laws. In themselves, the use of, membership in, and activity on social networks are not prohibited.
He noted that the decision to block Facebook in Iran had been made by members of a committee responsible for setting website filtering criteria to protect the safety of Iranians, after citizens complained about the misuse of the internet for political needs and for causing harm to other people. The committee may consider unblocking Facebook, depending on increased public awareness of the appropriate use of social networks. Kazemi said that even now some believe that there is no reason to block Facebook or to restrict the public’s access to the website (Asr-e Iran, July 4).
Meanwhile, the BultanNews website published the results of a new study showing that 19 percent of social network users in Iran employ software for unblocking websites.
Carried out by internet and telecommunications expert Mohammad Sadeq Afrasiabi, the study shows that 29 percent of Iran’s internet users are members of non-Iranian social networks, including Facebook, Yahoo 360, Twitter, and Netlog. The BultanNews website reported that it was the first comprehensive study performed among social network users in Iran. The results of the study also show that students are the largest group among social network users (about 41 percent).
55 percent of men and 54 percent of women polled (all social network users) said that, compared to their other online activities, most of their time on the internet is spent on social networks (BultanNews, July 4).