On Wednesday, October 3, a representative of Iran’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) had a meeting with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Secretary General Sergio Mujica in Tehran. The ICT representative, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, proposed to Secretary Mujica that Iran should work with the ISO to create international standards for “social responsibility in cyberspace”, including policies for keeping kids safe.
In the wake of scandals like Facebook’s frequent data leaks, the call for better social media security is a strong one. Take for example the outrage some guardians of young children felt when the app Snapchat updated their tracking earlier this year. With the new update, anyone could view the exact location of people on their friends list with scarily pinpoint accuracy. What if predators used this information to target unaware children, parents argued?
Digital security breaches in businesses both large and small are coming to a head as well. Cybersecurity is an emerging field, and new specialists are practically racing against the clock to come up with solutions to cybersecurity issues that haven’t even been created yet. Around 87% of small businesses experienced a security breach just in the year 2012. It’s unclear if setting standards for cyberspace social responsibility will help small businesses with little access to hardcore cybersecurity protect their assets and clients, but with a proposal this vague and yet unplanned, the possibilities are fairly endless.
It’s also unclear what kind of scope the ISO can create with this issue. The ISO has wide reach, publishing at least 22302 international standards ranging from barcodes to medical devices to environmental management. If any one organization can develop specific standards for internet-based social responsibility, it’s probably the ISO.
You might be wondering, “why Iran?” If you consider the growth of the internet in Iran, it makes a bit more sense. In the past 10 years, the number of internet users in Iran has more than doubled. Today, just about 70% of Iranians have internet access, and that number is expected to grow. Of course, they’d want protection for their citizens, especially young children. On the other hand, Iran has been hotly criticized for its strong censorship of the nationwide internet. Many tech-savvy Iranians have resorted to developing backdoors around the ‘sophisticated’ government censorship tactics, and been quite successful. It’s unclear how this kind of ISO would affect Iran’s internet policies.
The proposal is in its earliest infancy, so no word on next steps or international involvement yet. Maybe it will catch the eye of First Lady Melania Trump, whose traditional pet project as First Lady is fighting against cyberbullying. If the ISO agrees to work on such standards, the effect on ‘ethical’ internet use will be debate-worthy.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius