The research center’s suggestions to the seventh program: supporting native messengers and 70% share of domestic traffic

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In continuation of the reports of the 7th development program, the Majlis Research Center has addressed the field of information and communication technology and has given suggestions for corrections and additions in the field. There are more proposals, especially regarding Article 65 of the bill, which deals with the National Information Network, and in this section, the Research Center has added two clauses to support native messengers and tasked the Ministry of Communications to increase the share of internal traffic to 70% of the total traffic consumed by users. The issue that the Minister of Communications had previously suggested to be removed from the bill.

Criticism of Research Center: Neglecting the National Information Network

This report, which was published in the middle of July, under the title of neglected cases in line with the development of the National Information Network, wrote that Article 65 cannot achieve the development of the backward parts of the National Information Network and tries to compensate for this issue with supplementary proposals.

In addition, pointing out that one of the most important documents in the field of the National Information Network is the organization of social messengers, he said that the provision of electronic government services through social messengers has been neglected. Therefore, he suggested that this paragraph be added to Article 65:

“The Ministry of Communications is obliged to provide a single window of government services on domestic messengers with more than 10 million installations within 6 months from the effective date of this law. By the end of the first year of the program, all services for receiving popular reports from executive bodies, including the Audit Bureau, the General Inspection Organization, the Penalty Organization, and the Communications Regulatory Organization, will be provided to the people through native messengers.

In the explanation of the benefits of this clause, it is stated that it will reduce the cost of running the government’s infrastructure and by strengthening the use of local messengers, it will increase the country’s cyber power by improving the information environment.

Receive free bank transaction SMS through native messengers

Another clause that considers the development of native messengers is to provide information through native messengers instead of SMS. The proposal of the research center is the possibility of receiving free SMS of bank transactions through native messengers:

“The Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, will provide the possibility of free SMS banking transactions for small and large transactions through local messengers with more than 10 million active installations 6 months after this law comes into force.”

Although none of these clauses are explicitly written as support for native messengers, but their result is clear that the research arm of the parliament seeks to support these messengers.

The research center’s approach to the field of information and communication technology in the development program is in line with providing facilities for the growth of domestic virtual space. In a part of this report, the research center criticized that some goals of the National Information Network have not made the necessary progress and said that there is no specific provision in the bill in cases such as the welding machine, the national operating system, and the native smart phone.

Of course, all these cases have been supported many times before. Apart from the Bomi welder, none of its experiences were popular among users, the Bomi smartphone project has recently started for the second time with a lot of support.

Statistics of the number of users of native messengers were announced many times, which sometimes seemed illogical, and sometimes only the statistics of their installation were presented by the authorities. Until today, many government agencies have forced their employees and customers to install one of the native messengers in order to provide services. Azad University had forced students to install IGP to enter the educational system, many banks notify transactions below a certain amount only through native messengers. Health insurance policyholders have to install one of ITA, Soroush, and Rubika messengers to verify the electronic version online. All these programs increase the number of users of internal messengers, but this does not mean that users are active.

According to experts, the forced presence of people on internal platforms does not make the digital life form in this space. They do not carry out their daily activities in these messengers, and many use internal messengers when needed due to these compulsions. The simultaneous increase in support for internal messengers and filtering has eroded public trust in internal examples. According to Iran’s global reports, China and Turkmenistan are the only countries where all six popular social networks in the world are filtered, and in general only 11 countries in the world have at least one filtered social network.

The additional proposals of the research center in the 7th development plan are finally another requirement to take people to internal messengers, to change their house and what the Minister of Communications considers to be a big move. Kochi wants to increase the share of internal traffic to the total traffic consumed by users.

Returning the share of domestic traffic to at least 70%

Another task of the Majlis Research Center for the Ministry of Communications is to increase the ratio of domestic traffic to the total consumption traffic, and it has said that this issue is one of the indicators of the realization of the National Information Network. In this report, it is stated that “before last year’s incidents, around 20% of traffic was domestic and 80% was foreign, and currently, around 30-35% of the country’s traffic is domestic. Therefore, it is necessary to modify the tariff structure of communication services in order to achieve an increase in the share of domestic traffic compared to foreign traffic. And he has added this section further: “By the end of 1404, the share of domestic traffic from the total traffic of users should reach at least 70% of the total traffic, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders, including service providers, content rights owners, end users, producers and consumers of content.”

Messengers are one of the sources of increasing user traffic, and the Ministry of Communications, especially since last year, sought to increase internal content traffic by providing internal messenger service and achieve the goal of the National Information Network.

When the text of the 7th Plan Bill was published in June, there was a ratio of 70 to 30 for domestic to foreign traffic. Zarepour also said that we have a duty to provide quality and speedy services both domestically and internationally according to the rules of the Islamic Republic.

However, it seems that the Majlis Research Center is another supporter of restricting the foreign internet and wants to increase the use of local messengers with suggestions, but also considers it the responsibility of the Ministry of Communications to increase domestic traffic to 70% of the total traffic consumed by users by the end of the government.

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