Young Iranians Are Using These Apps to Bypass Government Oppression

Supporters of President Hassan Rouhani celebrate after the results of the Iran vote were announced, in Tehran, Iran on May 20, 2017. Image: Fatemeh Bahrami/Getty Images)
Amid censorship and „moral police“, the youth of Iran are looking to their smartphones for civil liberties.

By Virginia Vigliar | MOTHERBOARD

Last May, Iranians re-elected president Hassan Rouhani, a reformist leader, in hopes he will slowly edge Iran toward a more open and progressive sociopolitical culture.

In a country where 60 percent of the 80 million population is under 30 years old, the mobile-savvy, VPN-using youth in Iran have been resisting government control. Telegram, the encrypted messaging service, has become a popular form of communication for political expression, for example. But young people are also up against internet censorship, moral policing and fundamental religious clerics. Even with a relatively more liberal leader like Rouhani, Facebook and Twitter are still banned.

„Iranians are techy, they are ready.“

 In their quest for expanded civil rights, some Iranians are taking ideas from Silicon Valley to the streets of Tehran and channeling them into apps that fill the gaps in health, education and dialogue. Built by Iranians both at home and abroad, there is hope that these mobile solutions could work where protests and advocacy has not.