CYBER: Iran’s AI-Powered Surveillance State

In Iran, the state is using AI and facial recognition technology to enforce draconian laws.
Students of Amir Kabir university protest against Hijab and the Islamic RepublicDarafsh phot.
Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 3
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

On January 31, a court in Iran handed out a combined sentence of 10 years to a couple who danced outside of Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran. A film of the brief dance went viral on Instagram and Twitter. They’re 21 and 22 years old. The woman was not wearing a hijab.

The long sentence for a viral post is part of a pattern in Iran. In response to protests, the Iranian government is using technology and violence to suppress its people. Iran is a pioneer in the use of new technologies like AI and facial recognition to suppress dissent and enforce the will of the state.

On this episode of Cyber, Mahsa Alimardani—a senior researcher at Article 19 and a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford—comes on the show to talk about how Iran is pioneering the modern surveillance state.

We’re recording CYBER live on Twitch and YouTube. Watch live during the week. Follow us there to get alerts when we go live. We take questions from the audience and yours might just end up on the show.

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