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Censorship Communications Encryption Government Software

Iranian App Helps Users Avoid Morality Police (reuters.com) 210

An anonymous reader writes: Young people in Iran are using a new app called Gershad (a contraction of 'Gashte Ershad', or 'guidance patrol'), to avoid the 'morality police' by sharing the location of checkpoints with other users. At checkpoints strict Islamic dress and behavior codes are enforced, and their ad hoc nature can make them difficult to avoid. Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said of Gershad, "This is an innovative idea and I believe it will lead to many other creative apps which will address the gap between society and government in Iran."
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Iranian App Helps Users Avoid Morality Police

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  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@mac.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:40PM (#51515751) Journal

    What Iran really needs is a revolution to overthrow those theocratic motherfuckers.

    -jcr

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:47PM (#51515797)

      A revolution? Fuck, a revolution is what got them into that shit, you really think you can motivate them to try again?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by unixisc ( 2429386 )
        A counter-revolution, to be more precise. Preferably, one that outlaws Islam - in the same way Communism was outlawed in Russia after 1991.
        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          A counter-revolution, to be more precise. Preferably, one that outlaws Islam - in the same way Communism was outlawed in Russia after 1991.

          99.4% of Iranians are Muslims. Good luck with that.

          • They are not all the same sort of Islam. The country runs the whole spectrum from 'very devout muslim' to 'insanely devout muslim.'

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Opportunist ( 166417 )

              I somehow have the feeling that it's more like with the US political spectrum running from "very devout" to "insanely devout" Christian in any and all political offices.

              Have you ever seen a US politician not end his speech with some phrase invoking god?

              • Stop. Just stop. Comparing theology in the US to that in Iran and pretending they are alike is dishonest and disingenuous. We don't have "morality police" here in the US. We have plenty of people who think there should be a morality police but it's just their opinion.

                Iran, on the other hand, has a real morality police. With legal teeth that can affect people's lives. To suggest that their system is anything like the US is ludicrous. Stop it.
                • Give it time, we're getting there.

                • by sjames ( 1099 )

                  We don't have "morality police" here in the US.

                  Sure we do, it's just not as strict. A great many places have some sort of indecent exposure law. There are even people on a lifetime offender's registry for peeing on a dumpster.

              • That may annoy you and (to a lesser extent) I, but it's still a false equivalence. Politicians referencing their religion does not a theocracy make.
                Whatever whacko extremist christians may exist in the Americas and Europe, they're far and away outnumbered and out-violenced by, and have far less clout and influence on the world than extremist Islamists, in any remotely modern and relevant context.
                • Not suggesting all Iranians are extremists, BTW, that was a tangent; just ranting about the whole "Christianity same as Islam" argument. Correlation is not causation. The key is to see what motivates someone into dangerous behavior; are they doing so in the name of their religion, or regardless of it?
        • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @04:22AM (#51517587) Homepage

          the same way Communism was outlawed in Russia after 1991.

          That would be not at all, of course. The communist party of Russia holds 92 seats in the Duma, and runs their candidate against Putin in the presidential elections as well.

        • A counter-revolution

          A dance dance counter revoltion?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUautVrEUyU

        • This is what we Germans call "dangerous superficial knowledge".
          Communism was not outlawed in Russia after 1991, only the CPSU was. CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) never was outlawed and is, in fact, the second largest party in Russia.

        • A counter-revolution, to be more precise. Preferably, one that outlaws Islam - in the same way Communism was outlawed in Russia after 1991.

          Don't be stupid. First of all, outlawing something - anything - will only galvanize those to whom the something is important. There are many people in the world, not least in Iran, who see Islam as important, you may be surprised to hear. It is not possible to bring peace and freedom by forcing Western prejudices on them; that is what led to much of the terrorism in the first place. It will only work if people actually want it.

          Secondly, revolution can easily go wrong. The revolution happened in Russia for a

          • Well, the thing is that there have been two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first one (the february revolution) forced the tsar to abdicate and established a republic with a provisional government (a coalition of democratic socialists and classic liberals). The second one (the october revolution) was a bolshevik coup which overthrew the provisional government, and was, strictly speaking, unnecessary.

        • by dabadab ( 126782 )

          in the same way Communism was outlawed in Russia after 1991.

          Yeah, that really worked as intended, so there's no chance that an ex-KGB agent would seize the power, turn into a dictator and would start to revive the Soviet Union.
          Oh, wait...

        • by sudon't ( 580652 )

          A counter-revolution, to be more precise. Preferably, one that outlaws Islam - in the same way Communism was outlawed in Russia after 1991.

          Score:4, Interesting? It is certainly an interesting idea.

          There's a big difference between an unpopular political party, and a religion. Don't forget, the Soviets, (and the Chinese), tried to ban religion. They were not successful. Trying to outlaw Islam in Iran would be much the same as trying to outlaw Christianity in the US. You'd have a much easier time outlawing the Republican and Democratic Parties, (a worthy goal). I don't know if you've noticed, but religions tend to outlast political institutions.

          • Communism is as much a religion as Islam is, or conversely, Islam is as much an ideology - a geopolitical one - as Communism is
      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        A slow revolution undermining the base for the government.

        Realize that the Iranian government is in place due to a population that largely lacks education except in the religious writings.

        Guerrilla education when it comes to science and way of living in other cultures for both boys and girls is the only way to undermine the religious dictatorship.

        Unfortunately we see a turn into religious dictatorship in the west as well - especially led by the creationists that tries to dictate that science is bad and reli

        • Dude, please. The Iran is a theocracy, but they're not Afghanistan.

          There are actually universities in Iran that actually teach you relevant things. They're not the equivalent of US Bible colleges. Yes, there is a load of uneducated, brainwashed idiots that think their sky daddy made everything. But I guess we can both think of a few US states that fit that bill perfectly too.

          • The USA has 99% literacy, Iran has 80%. That's a notably larger block of people who are especially easy to manipulate. And you certainly don't need a majority for control -- the majority in Iran voted for reformists until they found it didn't do any good. 20% is more than enough to fill the revolutionary guard ranks.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              The literacy rate is 97% among 15-24 year olds, both male and female. Iran is changing.

            • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
              Reading loses its charm when the quran is the only thing you're allowed to read.
              • Reading loses its charm when the quran is the only thing you're allowed to read.

                1) Nice to see you are making that assumption about Iranians.

                2) Replace Quran with Bible, and you are pretty much describing 1/3 of this country. This is the country where we have people who believe some batshit crazy stuff, like the world was created 6000 years ago, chemtrails, birtherism, UN Agenda 21 conspiracy theories and so on and so on.

                We are not the smartest of people, and we shouldn't be making uneducated statements about countries we know next to nothing about.

            • The USA has 99% literacy, Iran has 80%. That's a notably larger block of people who are especially easy to manipulate. And you certainly don't need a majority for control -- the majority in Iran voted for reformists until they found it didn't do any good. 20% is more than enough to fill the revolutionary guard ranks.

              As if that doesn't hold true in the USA. Yes, we claim a 99% literacy rate, but the question is how do you measure literacy? What do we consider literacy? Most importantly, how do we measure a population's ability to do critical thinking and adaptability in this increasingly multi-polar globalized world?

              Just look around. For Christ' sake, we have kids, hordes and hordes of kids who graduate from HS who 1) have no skills whatsoever, 2) are not trained to do any form of critical thinking, and 3) who need a

          • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

            The percentage that's permitted into university in Iran is not going to topple the imbalance that exists.

            It may not be as bad as Afghanistan, but it's not good either by western standards.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          You can have religion, but tinker with it at home and don't push it to your peers.

          If that was the attitude, religion wouldn't be around. Yes, that would be a good thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cold fjord ( 826450 )

      It might be a while. The Obama administration left the last big attempt at reform to twist in the wind.

    • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:22PM (#51516015) Homepage

      Uh...it was a revolution that got them in this mess in the first place. Jimmy Carter was completely fooled by the Ayatollah Khomeni, and thought he was a decent fellow who wanted a grassroots revolution. 35 years ago, under the Shah and his Savak secret police, Iranian - no, scratch that, Persian women walked freely in the streets dressed however they liked. After the revolution? Let's just say that when they renamed the country the Islamic Republic of Iran (its official name still today), they weren't screwing around. Carter had the nerve to lecture the Ayatollahs on Islamic law, telling them how Allah does not justify cruelty to women. As if HE had memorized the Koran.

      And you know the real losers of the Iranian revolution? The liberals. After accepting their help to overthrow the Shah, the Ayatollahs - in a completely unanticipated and surprising move that nobody, and I mean nobody saw coming except everyone in the world - liquidated the liberals in the same way they liquidated the hated Savak. Useful idiots, as always.

      What happened afterwards? Everything everyone said was going to happen. Soviets invade Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq go to war, Pasdaran copy Communist technique of clearing minefields with human wave attacks, and Morality Police hit the streets telling women to cover up. And it was all America's fault.

      • Yeah, but pulling off a revolution now would overthrow the Islamic regime in Teheran, which would presumably bring anti-Islamists to power. It remains to be seen whether Iran would be another Egypt or Libya, where removing one Islamic regime would mean substituting it w/ another
        • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:42PM (#51516143) Homepage

          Do you know ANYTHING about Iran? WTF? The Islamic government is genuinely popular. [exiledonline.com] They TRIED to have a revolution a few years ago and it went nowhere. It failed even though Western leftists changed their Twitter pages backgrounds to green in support. I know, I'm as clueless as you - how could such a move have failed?

          You want to know something really chilling? Ahmedinajad won in the 2005 election because he pulled a Bernie Sanders - he promised to give free (oil) money to ordinary folks. The man is legitimately popular and he has Morality Police on the streets, with the full support of the people who voted for him. It can happen here, people.

          • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:58PM (#51516267) Homepage
            " The man is legitimately popular and he has Morality Police on the streets, with the full support of the people who voted for him. It can happen here, people."

            First, he doesn't have anyone on the streets, because he is no longer president of Iran. Secondly, he was widely unpopular, particularly with the increasingly powerful educated urban population, who got Rouhani elected.
            • Yeah...he was a one-termer who did a ton of damage to his own country with untenable promises. Sound familiar yet?
          • Why do people think it's a democracy in Iran?
            Ahmedinajad and the others have been figureheads and never allowed to decide anything important. That's why his rants about Israel were not much to worry about, sabre ratting for the sake of popular support with no way he could follow through. It should be taken no more seriously than if the Mayor of Springfield threatened to invade France.

            The man is legitimately popular and he has Morality Police on the streets, with the full support of the people who voted fo

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          which would presumably bring anti-Islamists to power

          Really?
          Wouldn't they have to be imported?

        • They don't have a significant number of "anti-Islamists." It is crazy silly stuff. It is almost exactly like the claim that saying "Happy Holidays" is an attack on Christians. Just as Americans are mostly not anti-Christian, Iranians are not anti-Islam. Tolerant governments of places in the region with relatively free cultures are still officially Islamic nations, including the dictatorships. Iraqi Kurdistan is the closest thing to an exception, and they're still mostly Muslims and have cordial relations wi

          • Given what I've seen after a few other "Arab Springs", I would not count on a replacement regime being more moderate...

            • There is quite a difference b/w Arabs and others when it comes to Islam.

              Islam, at its core, amongst everything else, is a vehicle for Arab supremacy. The Quran is in Arabic, allah understands only Arabic, Mohammed said that the Arabs were the best of people, et al. Even non Arabs, when they embrace Islam, are not deemed as good as the Arabs. They have a hierarchy of most favored peoples - first the Quraysh Arabs (the tribe that Mohammed was from), then the Arabian Peninsula Arabs (which is why al Qaed

      • The Shah was a monster and Khomeni was an unknown quantity with zero blood on his hands at the time so a lot of people were "fooled".
        The revolution was almost bloodless. What happened next was not.
      • Blaming President Carter is just a crazy right-wing fantasy, not "history."

        Wildly crazy stuff, that seems to also require a belief in Jimmy Carter being a mutant Superhero who failed to fly over and stop it.

        The whole embassy stuff just kinda-sorta blows a hole in your theory. Check some historical newsreels kiddo.

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:53PM (#51516227)
      If we've learned anything from the Arab Spring it's that most of the people living there favor these types of religiously oppressive governments, so any overthrow of the existing power structure is more likely than not to end up with something worse taking its place. If Iran were destabilized right now, they'd end up being partially controlled by ISIS. As bad as Hussein or Assad might be, at least they kept a lid on that shit.

      I think a good chunk of the Middle East might be sliding towards some hopeless cycle for the foreseeable future because anyone intelligent enough to see why that kind of system is bad is likely to leave for other, less oppressive countries. The people who could be a catalyst for reform aren't there any longer to make improvements and it's no surprise that they don't want to stick around when it's relatively easy to move elsewhere and end up in a country where you won't be killed for your religious beliefs or stoned to death for your sexual preferences.
      • Islamic State is Sunni, Islamic Republic of Iran is Shiite. They have about as much chance of working together as the socialist Bernie Sanders does with the white working class. Please stop talking about the Middle East from now on. You're ignorant, and I say that without rancor or malice. You need to read a lot of books.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          They have about as much chance of working together as the socialist Bernie Sanders does with the white working class.

          Umm... What?

          No, seriously. What? Do you actually know who Sander's supporters are? Have you looked to see where Sander's funding is coming from? You might want to do that some time. 'Cause, well... Err... Let me see...

          Are you sitting down? You might want to sit down. Seriously, sit down.

          The white, working class, people are actually the people who are supporting Bernie's candidacy. I know that may seem odd but it's not the welfare class that's supporting him because they don't have any money. No, it's indivi

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        If we've learned anything from the Arab Spring it's that most of the people living there favor these types of religiously oppressive governments

        A lack of freedom of assembly for reasons other than worship is why they can't have nice things.
        To put things simply nobody but the Islamist political groups can even meet let alone get organized.

      • If we've learned anything from the Arab Spring it's that most of the people living there favor these types of religiously oppressive governments

        Libyans voted heavily for secular parties, it's not the people's fault that the islamist government refused to leave office and forced the legitimate government into exile in the east. Tunisia on the other hand has successfully transfered power from islamists to secularists via democratic election.

      • I think a good chunk of the Middle East might be sliding towards some hopeless cycle for the foreseeable future

        Nope. It's not sliding towards it, it's been in it since the middle east rejected science. There have been momentary detentes but the history of the world is one of war and the history of that religion is that they used to be big into science, but now they're big into theocracy and ne'er the twain shall be reconciled.

        The only bright spot is that their culture keeps them from kicking our ass scientifically, or on a production basis, because of the way they treat half of their population — that is, like

      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

        If we've learned anything from the Arab Spring it's that most of the people living there favor these types of religiously oppressive governments, ...

        Then you have indeed learned nothing [foreignpolicy.com] from the Arab Spring.

        Millions of young Arabs really did take to the streets demanding liberty, and dignity, and justice. .... It wasn’t a mirage. We really do exist.

        We’re not a minority, either. We only appear to be a minority because we’re not organized; we’re not on the menu. When the only options presented are black or white, it does not mean that red or green or blue are a minority. When the only options presented are religious authoritarianism or nationalistic fascism, it does not mean that a third option doesn’t exist. It’s just not on the menu.

    • "What Iran really needs is a revolution to overthrow those theocratic motherfuckers."

      Iran is like Cuba in that it has a whole professional/business class living in exile, in places like Silicon Valley and Beverly Hills. The relations they maintain with their relatives in the old country, reminding them that pre-mullah Iran was the only nation in the region to have industries and a middle class, are setting things up for the next revolution.

    • They had one against the amazingly corrupt Shah of Iran in 1979. This is the result.

      Revolutions don't always bring benefits to the local people or to the world, as a whole, except in the very short term.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Just wait a bit longer for the kids to grow up and the loosening grip to let go. Which way it's going to go is a mystery but it's not going to be the stifling autocratic nanny state it is now.
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      The CIA fucks, it does not un-fuck.
    • by vvaduva ( 859950 )

      You mean Evolution? Revolutions usually end up with the same shitbags running the same show.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With our wonderful influx of immigrants who don't wish to assimilate with our western culture, you can expect this here soon... just as Sharia law has already wormed it's way in Seattle and other liberal havens. And you can thank LIBERALS for this when it happens. The irony.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by _merlin ( 160982 )

      You've already got your own morality police: the feminists, SJWs, etc. turning campuses into "safe spaces" and branding words and behaviours "problematic".

    • Seattle's investigating loans where the interest is calculated up front and people pay back a known amount, rather than having the interest calculated continuously.

      ... Sorry, how was this going to cause the creation of the morality police again?
  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:45PM (#51515787)
    The head nutjobs are saying "This is an innovative idea and I believe it will lead to not only arrests for having the app on your phone, but by poisoning the data we can catch even more infidels".
  • I am sure that there are apps that use crowd sourcing to avoid police checkpoints already.

    But just wait till the state,forces service providers to install a back door that can use this app to track down trouble makers, and hold them without trial for the good of the country. No country would do that right? Oh wait they do.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:58PM (#51515869)
    and their 'honeypot'
  • by He Who Has No Name ( 768306 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:10PM (#51515953)

    ...would be setting up rapid ambushes on those checkpoints.

    The Morality Police will give up quick on their bullshit if they start getting shot with no witnesses every time they set up a checkpoint.

    Marg bar dictator - marg bar Khomenei.

  • It's like VPN's to go around the "great firewall" or satellite dishes, yes it's kind of illegal, but meehhh...
    It's a nice to have add on if the government decide to arrest someone, and meanwhile it gives the reactionary class the feeling that "everything is ok", while letting the educated class breath just a tiny little bit and not completely freak out.

  • Tor: App that helps americans avoid morality police

  • What's the big deal? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:20PM (#51516007)

    They're simply enforcing Iran's version of political correctness. As stalwart adherents of PC here in the west, we should welcome such diversity in the behavioral expectations forced on people for the sake of the insecure and easily offended.

  • I'm completely amazed that the Iranian government don't see the obvious problem with their society when they need a 'morality police' to make the population comply with some arbitrary standard that the population obviously don't agree with. Shouldn't the standard be defined by the people, not by some out-of-touch-with-reality council or similar?

    Religion is once again beyond stupid.

  • Now all someone needs to do is use that app to set up a burkha rental booth in front of that checkpoint when its discovered. You give a large deposit for your rental burkha, don't get pinched by the pigs, then drop your burkha off at the deposit booth on the other side of the morality police checkpoint, where you get most of your deposit back.

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