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Iran’s new app to avoid morality police reportedly blocked

A new app in Iran, Gershad, which warns users about where the morality police are located, has been blocked by Iranian authorities, just 24 hours after its launch, according to some reports. Gershad is a mapping app similar to Waze, only instead of relying on crowdsourced information from users to report traffic conditions, users report the location of the “Ershad" or morality police units, which appear unexpectedly across the country and either force offenders to sign a letter of repentance or issue warnings or fines to those violating Islamic code of conduct, the BBC reported. After having used Gershad for a few hours Tuesday, one user, Mohammad Reza, told IranWire that he noticed his screen displaying meaningless characters after it was blocked by Iranian authorities. “You have to give it to them; Sometimes they do move fast. Now we need a filter-breaker for Gershad the same way that we need them for Facebook and other apps,” Reza told IranWire. Currently, Iranians have to use proxies to gain access to government blocked sites like Facebook. “Why do we have to be humiliated for our most obvious right which is the right to wear what we want?" Gershad’s developers wrote on a Google Play Store description of their app. "Social media networks and websites are full of footage and photos of innocent women who have been beaten up and dragged on the ground by the Ershad patrol agents,” they added. Iranian citizens who wear too much make up, are not covered enough or are seen accompanying a friend of the opposite sex are subject to confrontation by Ershad. Addressing concerns over the anonymity and protection of its users identities, Gershad’s developers responded to questions about the app being blocked with assurances that users’ emails are secure and will not be logged onto servers that may be seized by the IRGC.
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