Iranian judge summons Facebook founder to court over violation of privacy

Inidividuals complain that Facebook-owned applications Instagram and Whatsapp have violated their privacy.
Mark Zuckerberg,  CEO and founder of Facebook Inc, speaks at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California on March 7, 2013. A judge in Iran has summoned Mr Zuckerberg to answer complaints that Facebook-owned applications Instagram and Whatsapp violate individuals’ privacy. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook Inc, speaks at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California on March 7, 2013. A judge in Iran has summoned Mr Zuckerberg to answer complaints that Facebook-owned applications Instagram and Whatsapp violate individuals’ privacy. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

TEHRAN // Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been ordered to appear in a Iranian court to answer complaints that Facebook-owned applications Instagram and Whatsapp violate individuals’ privacy, semiofficial news agency ISNA reported on Tuesday.

Quoting Ruhollah Momen Nasab, an official with the paramilitary Basij force, the agency said an Iranian judge also ordered the two apps blocked.

Another Iranian court last week ordered Instagram blocked over privacy concerns.

The administration of moderate president Hassan Rouhani is opposed to blocking such websites before authorities create local alternatives.

Social media has offered a new way for him and his administration to reach out to the West as it negotiates with world powers over the country’s contested nuclear programme.

However, users in Tehran could still access both applications at noon local time on Tuesday. In Iran, websites and internet applications have sometimes been reported blocked but remained operational.

Facebook is already banned in the country, along with other social websites like Twitter and YouTube. However some senior leaders like Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are active on Twitter.

While top officials have unfettered access to social media, Iran’s youth and technological-savvy citizens use proxy servers or other workarounds to bypass the controls.

“We should see the cyber world as an opportunity,” Mr Rouhani said last week, according to the official IRNA news agency.

“Why are we so shaky? Why don’t we trust our youth?”

Hardliners accuse Mr Rouhani of failing to stop the spread of what they deem as “decadent” Western culture in Iran.

* Associated Press

Published: May 27, 2014 04:00 AM

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