Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have long been banned in Iran, but the Iranian government is now taking further steps in order to control the internet activity of its citizens. Despite international concerns regarding privacy and security, the government is adamant to implement some very strict rules within the year. All app companies that cater to Iranian users must strictly comply to the new regulation.
According to CNet, the government is giving app companies a year to move all servers with Iranian data into the country's servers. The execution of this requirement is meant to allow for easier monitoring of any and all conversations conducted by Iranian citizens - which, in turn, should make it easier for the government to find and target individuals and groups that are sharing what they consider "immoral content."
It would seem that messaging apps have been gaining a lot of followers in Iran recently. By November of last year, as many as 20 groups were arrested by authorities for spreading this type of content over the popular messaging app, Telegram.
As stated by Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace, "Foreign messaging companies active in the country are required to transfer all data and activity linked to Iranian citizens into the country in order to ensure their continued activity." Reportedly, the regulation is based on the "guidelines and concerns of the supreme leader," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
As noted by Reuters, probably no other app company will be hit as hard by this new regulation as Telegram. Catering to an estimated 20 million Iranian citizens, out of 80 million, a handful of who have already voiced out their concerns and speculations.
One individual tweeted, "Telegram's data centers are to be moved inside the country so they can delete what they want and arrest who they want." Another one shared his or her opinion, advising others not to use Telegram at all because it will no longer be safe for users.