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Iran to start using facial recognition technology to enforce strict new rules on women

Iran to start using facial recognition technology to enforce strict new rules on women

The Iranian government is using the technology to crack down on how women dress

The Iranian government has announced plans to use facial recognition technology as a tool to crack down on a strict new hijab law.

This new scheme would involve putting the technology on public transport to identify women who refuse to comply with new laws.

The Hijab and Chastity law, signed by President Ebrahim Raisi back in August, will put new, specific restrictions on how women can dress.

President Ebrahim Raisi signed the new law last month.
Amin Bre/Alamy Stock Photo

Based on the new decree, women who post photos without their hijab on the internet could be deprived of some social rights for six months up to one year. This could include being barred from entering government buildings, banks, or using public transport.

Hijab laws, which have been quite strict in Iran since the Islamic theocracy took charge in 1979, have become an increasingly controversial topic, particularly as of late.

Currently, it's compulsory for Iranian women over the age of nine to wear a hijab, but in the decades since the law was put in place, women have pushed back.

Hijabs are compulsory for all girls over the age of nine in Iran.
zakaria jasemi/Alamy Stock Photo

On 12 July, also known as 'National Hijab and Chastity Day', protests broke out across the country, with women sharing videos to social media of themselves out in public with their heads uncovered.

Just over a month later, the new Hijab and Chastity law was put into place.

Secretary of Iran's Headquarters for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice, Mohammad Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani, has since suggested that the government plans on using facial recognition to monitor compliance with the new law, the Guardian reports.

The #No2Hijab movement sparked a number of arrests by Iranian authorities.

In one example, protester Sepideh Rashno, 28, defied hijab laws by getting on public transport without wearing her hijab properly.

In a video of the protest, Sepideh was harassed and berated by another passengers on board. The furious passenger, who filmed Sepideh, was eventually forced off the bus by other bystanders.

On 16 July, shortly after footage from her accuser was posted online, Sepideh was arrested.

Facial recognition technology might be used to monitor compliance with the new law.
Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo

According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), she was forced to 'confess' and apologise to her accuser on television.

According to article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code, any woman refusing to wear a hijab in public is a criminal act, punishable by flogging, imprisonment or a fine.

Sepideh's protest was among many that eventually led to Iran's new Hijab and Chastity law.

Featured Image Credit: Egill Bjarnason/Allen Brown/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News