Why an Iranian Judge Summoned Mark Zuckerberg to Court

Weeks after an Iranian ban on WhatsApp was overturned, an Iranian judge wants “the Zionist director of Facebook” to answer privacy questions.

National Journal
Kaveh Waddell
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Kaveh Waddell
May 27, 2014, 11:36 a.m.

Con­ser­vat­ive and re­form­ist ele­ments of the Ir­a­ni­an polit­ic­al ma­chine clashed on Tues­day when a judge con­demned What­s­App and In­s­tagram just weeks after a pro­posed ban on What­s­App was over­turned by Ir­an’s pres­id­ent.

A court in the Fars province in south­ern Ir­an summoned Face­book CEO Mark Zuck­er­berg in re­sponse to “many cit­izens’ com­plaints” about the pri­vacy vi­ol­a­tions of two Face­book-owned ap­plic­a­tions, In­s­tagram and What­s­App, Ir­an’s se­mi­of­fi­cial ISNA news agency re­por­ted on Tues­day.

Ruhol­lah Mo­men-Nasab, an in­form­a­tion-tech­no­logy of­fi­cial with the para­mil­it­ary Basij or­gan­iz­a­tion, called for “the Zion­ist dir­ect­or of Face­book” or his at­tor­ney to ap­pear in the Ir­a­ni­an court to de­fend Face­book and pay pos­sible dam­ages. Zuck­er­berg is un­likely to vis­it Ir­an to stand tri­al: The United States and Ir­an do not have an ex­tra­di­tion agree­ment, and the Face­book CEO has no in­cent­ive to vol­un­tar­ily ap­pear in court.

In­s­tagram, a photo-shar­ing ser­vice, and What­s­App, an in­stant-mes­saging ap­plic­a­tion, are of­ten blocked in Ir­an, and some so­cial-me­dia ser­vices such as Face­book, You­Tube, and Twit­ter are al­most al­ways banned. Des­pite these In­ter­net fil­ters, high-level Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cials such as Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani, For­eign Min­is­ter Javad Za­rif, and even Su­preme Lead­er Ali Khame­nei are act­ive on so­cial me­dia, and many Ir­a­ni­ans use proxy ser­vices to cir­cum­vent gov­ern­ment fil­ters.

In­con­sist­ent mes­saging with­in Ir­an over so­cial me­dia is rep­res­ent­at­ive of a per­sist­ent struggle in the coun­try between re­form-minded Rouh­ani and the hard-line politi­cians who op­pose him. Rouh­ani chal­lenged a ban on What­s­App that was ori­gin­ally pro­posed in early May, un­will­ing to block a widely used ser­vice without an al­tern­at­ive in place. “We should see the cy­ber­world as an op­por­tun­ity,” the Ir­a­ni­an pres­id­ent said earli­er this month. “Why are we so shaky? Why don’t we trust our youth?”

An­oth­er ex­plan­a­tion for Ir­an’s at­temp­ted ban on What­s­App and oth­er mes­saging ser­vices is that the coun­try’s tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions in­dustry is try­ing to pro­tect its pock­et­book. The na­tion­al Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­pany of Ir­an has lost rev­en­ue to mes­saging ser­vices such as What­s­App, BBC Per­sian re­ports, and could be ap­ply­ing pres­sure to main­tain its hold over Ir­a­ni­ans’ com­mu­nic­a­tions.

As Ir­a­ni­an politi­cians work out their dif­fer­ences, then, Zuck­er­berg might do well to avoid the scen­ic Fars province.

What We're Following See More »
WANTS ANSWERS ON CLINTON EMAIL PROBE
Senate Judiciary Sends Questions to Loretta Lynch
23 hours ago
THE LATEST
ARE “OPEN TO NEGOTIATION”
Sens. Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee Oppose Senate Health Care Bill
1 days ago
THE LATEST

The four Senators released a joint statement, saying in part, "There are provisions in this draft that repreesnt an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs."

Source:
TRUMP SUGGESTED THERE WERE TAPES
No Comey Tapes
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon, "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

Source:
DEVELOPING
Senate Healthcare Bill In Trouble?
2 days ago
BREAKING
BETTER CARE RECONCILIATION ACT
Senate Republicans Unveil Healthcare Bill
2 days ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login