Iran is cracking down on foreign social media sites and messaging apps, demanding all data and activity records of Iranian users be stored on servers within its borders.
The Iranian government is giving companies like Telegram one year to comply with its demands. Telegram, a secure, cloud-based messaging app, is used by 20 million people living in Iran.
“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,” Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace said in new regulations carried by state news agency IRNA.
The directive, according to the IRNA, comes straight from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In Iran, websites and Internet applications are often blocked. Facebook and Twitter, for instance, have been blocked in Iran since 2009. Neither Instagram nor WhatsApp have been banned in Iran as yet, although both have been subjects of discussion.
Although government officials in Iran have been known to use both social networking sites — in fact officials have unlimited access to them — citizens of Iran must use proxy servers or other workarounds like virtual private networks and other special software.