Iranian Government Lags Behind on Data Regulations
The Supreme Council of Cyberspace is supposed to meet once every fifteen days to discuss and formulate policy regarding internet security, data regulations, and the like. Although it has been unable to meet since October due to the ongoing global pandemic, President Rouhani did convene the Executive Council of Information Technology on December 4. Nonetheless, the Majles has repeatedly postponed its planned discussions of data regulation legislation.
The Supreme Council of Cyberspace was formed by decree of Supreme Leader Khamene’i in 2012, is led by the president, and is comprised of the parliament speaker, head of the judiciary, ministers of education, defense, information, and other offices whose purviews include the dissemination of information and law enforcement.
Despite delays caused by the pandemic, the Majles today, 19 Azar 1399/9 December 2020, proposed a bill that would transfer executive authorities over the publication, transmission, and dissemination of data and information to the judiciary. Cited as a move intended to better protect privacy and state secrets, this would ostensibly serve to broaden the power of the judiciary to censor information on the internet.
Politically, this can be seen as an effort to take power from the presidency, and put it in the reactionary hands of the judiciary, which is engaged in a broad and ongoing effort to silence political dissent on the internet.
That being said, state media have also been publishing guides on how to prevent hacking of personal computers and smartphones. Above all else, they recommend using secure passwords, changing passwords regularly, and refraining from entering personal information on the internet, especially on unfamiliar and untrusted websites.