The limits of censorship


Iran’s Telecommunications Ministry will start filtering “immoral” video and audio messages sent via mobile phones, state television reported on Saturday. The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, a body set up after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, has instructed the ministry to buy the equipment needed to prevent any misuse of Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), it said. MMS allows users to send multimedia messages that include images, video and audio.

“in order to prevent possible misuse of MMS, immoral actions and social problems, the Telecommunications Ministry will filter immoral MMS,” the television said. It did not give details of the techniques it would use to filter such messages, when it would start or how it would define “immoral” messages.

We have written in the past about the theme expressed in the World War I song: “How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree)?“. The fact is that cell phones, IM’s, and kindred technological developments ought to pretty consistenly outpace attempts at effective censorship. It is most likely a fool’s errand to allow the means of instantaneous and universal communications and try to control all the content.

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