Thursday, February 11, 2016
Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police.
Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police. (ET).
An anonymous team of Iranian app developers have come to the rescue of young fashion conscious Iranians by helping them avoid the country’s notorious morality police known as “Ershad” or guidance.
The new app called ‘Gershad’ will alert users to Ershad checkpoints and help them to avoid them by choosing a different route. Ershad’s mobile checkpoints which usually consist of a van, a few men and one or two women, are deployed in towns across Iran and appear with no notice.
“Police need to provide security for the citizens not to turn into a factor for fear. A while ago, angry with such unreasonable oppressions, we looked for a solution to find a practical way to resist the volume of injustices peacefully with low risk level, to restore part of our freedom”, wrote one of the creators on their Facebook page.
Another added, “Why do we have to be humiliated for our most obvious right which is the right to wear what we want? 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.”
Gershad, a play on the Persian word Ershad, or “guidance,” translated roughly to “getting around the guidance patrol”, gave Iranian women a short-lived chance to wear what they wanted without worrying about getting stopped on Monday, until it was blocked by Iranian authorities on Tuesday.
It works by plotting the location of morality police checkpoints on maps of different Iranian cities. After enough users report seeing morality police at the same location, a cartoonish icon of a morality officer pops up on the map, alerting users of places they may want to avoid.
The app, free for Android users on Google’s app store, had over a 1,000 downloads and had received hundreds of five-star ratings and positive reviews in just one day.
An Iranian human rights group reported they were taking steps to get the app back online.