Iran is planning to designate state-controlled e-mail addresses to its citizens which will be used by authorities to communicate and interact with the people, according to report from Reuters citing a statement from the government’s communications minister.
“For mutual interaction and communication between the government and the people, from now on every Iranian will receive a special email address. With the assignment of an e-mail address to every Iranian, government interactions with the people will take place electronically,” according to Communications Minister Mohammad Hassan Nami, which was quoted by Mehr News Agency.
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Nami also said that e-mail addresses that will be distributed to citizens will use the “mail.post.ir” domain extension, and the government would establish data centers across the country to support the new system. He also added that the e-mail addresses would help maintain the privacy of Iranians but he did not explain how, and if it is compulsory for them to use the e-mail addresses.
Hassan Rouhni Plans To Stop Isolation Of Iran
Iran is also planning to isolate Iranians from the world wide web by switching into a domestic network. However, the newly elected President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani aims to reduce government’s interference in the private lives of its citizens.
In his speech, Rouhani emphasized that a “strong government arises from a strong society” and it “does not interfere in the people’s private lives.”
“We have to prepare the ground further for the people’s participation day by day and decrease the government’s authority over the affairs of the society and the people day by day. A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and has authority over all issues and limits the people’s lives,” added Rouhani.
Based on official figures, approximately 75 million Iranians are using the internet, but the government is using tools to block many websites.
Prior to the election in June 14, many internet users in the country reported that their internet speeds were unusually slow. Critics believed that the situation was intentional to prevent pro-reform candidates to use the social media to organize public support.
Phishing Attacks Affected Iranians
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) revealed that phishing attacks affected e-mail accounts of Iranians before the election. The search engine giant suspected that the phishing attacks were politically motivated.
“For almost three weeks, we have detected and disrupted multiple email-based phishing campaigns aimed at compromising the accounts owned by tens of thousands of Iranian users,” said Eric Grosse, vice-president of security engineering at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
In March, Iran tried to prevent its citizens from accessing Gmail and the websites of the opposition by blocking virtual private networks (VPN). However, the government’s efforts failed as many found ways to get around the restriction.
Early this year, some of the large financial institutions such Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), JP Morgan Chase & Company (NYSE:JPM) among others experienced cyber attacks. U.S. authorities believed that Iran was behind the attacks.