Iran’s New National Identity Cards Concerns Rights Activists

Stop Fundamentalism – Iran has introduced new biometric national identity cards that observers believe can be used to indentify dissident easier than before.   The card which can be used for internet usage, is considered a new measure to control, limit, and identify internet users and dissident cyber activists.

The Iranian government has been up front with its efforts to control and filter internet usage.  The new Iranian national identity card is currently being tested in the city of Qum but the nationwide release will start next year, for an estimated 62 million Iranians, says a Iranian official who was involved in the development process.  Iranian new year will start March 21, marking the beginning of spring.

The national card will record all biometric and personal information of the person in addition to fingerprints.

But another usage of this card will be for people to “enter the cyber space in a secure manner,” say an Iranian National Survey official.  The card will be issued to all persons over the age of 15.  The project will take place in the next five years.

The card will supposedly also facilitate exit and entry into the country and help with commercial activity on the internet.

Iran has been attempting to introduce its own internet separated from the rest of the world.  The government may be asking all users to identify themselves using the new national identity cards in order to be able to use the service in the future.

All internet cafes in Iran are ordered to keep identity records of their users, including names, addresses, telephone numbers for at least six months.

An Iranian dissident blogger by the name of Sattar Beheshti died earlier this month in custody of Iran’s internet police allegedly under torture.  His case has drawn wide international attention condemning Iranian government for its treatment of political prisoners.