Iranian authorities may be using new technology to help enforce the country’s strict dress code for women, expanding the use of facial recognition technology to issue fines and other penalties for those breaking the rules.
“Many people haven’t been arrested in the streets,” Shaparak Shajarizadeh, who fled from Iran to Canada in 2018 after multiple violations of Iran’s strict laws and became an activist, told Wired in a report Tuesday. “They were arrested at their homes one or two days later.”
Shajarizadeh is one of several observers of Iran who fear that the country’s Islamist regime has begun to weaponize facial recognition technology to find and punish women who flaunt laws about their dress and appearance in public, a setback for activists amid months of protesting for women’s rights and regime change.
The fears that Iran could be using the technology come a year after such a system was proposed by Iranian lawmakers. Their calls were heard by the head of the government agency responsible for enforcing morality laws, who in a September interview said facial recognition would be used “to identify inappropriate and unusual movements,” and a “failure to observe hijab laws.”