Iran bans Smartphone use by officials amid Spying Fears

The Smartphone ban was announced by Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s Military Ant-Sabotage unit, who told reporters the ban has been introduced because “Data entered on them is backed up, cannot be removed and can be accessed” adding that the ban does not extend to outside work he said officials “Should use other phones for work that involves sensitive information”. The Iranian government are concerned that data stored on smartphones is accessible to western Smartphone makers.

Iran believes it has been under surveillance in international cyber war since 2010 when hackers successfully disrupted the controls of its nuclear centrifuges using Stuxnet malware. Iran also believes that Israel deployed sophisticated Duqu malware derived from Stuxnet in hotels used for high-level talks between Iran and western countries to spy on Iranian nuclear talks, as in February Israeli officials claimed to have intelligence about negotiations that had taken place on Iran’s nuclear deal.

Technology in Iran is becoming of interest to western investors. 40 million Iranians have access to the internet of which around 15% of internet users do so using a Smartphone according to statistics from Iran’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. 3G and 4G were rolled out in Iran last year. US technology companies are banned from doing business in Iran following 30 years of hostility between the nations, although European can do business but face challenges due to the sanctions imposed by the EU. Iran is ranked at 130 out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s eased of doing Business chart.

In March 2015 a Smartphone app was launched in Iran containing all of Ayatollah Khamenei’s speeches from the past 25 years along with photos and information. Officials will now have to use the app outside of working hours due to the Smartphone ban.

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