Zarepour: Messenger connection plan is implemented based on standard and secure protocol
The plan to connect domestic messengers, which was proposed since the winter of 1401, was finally implemented. The plan that Hamed Mankarsi, deputy director of policy and development of the digital economy of the Ministry of Communications, said in the “Rite of Unveiling the First Phase of the Interconnection Project between Iranian Messengers” was proposed since May 19, 1401 and has been implemented step by step until today.
According to Mankarsi, more than 6 months of study work and 1200 man-hours of research have been done to implement this plan. In the first stage, on the 12th of February 1401, the trial version of the messenger interconnection plan was prepared, on the 29th of March, the possibility of exchanging text messages between different messengers was provided for users, and at the end of Faroudin 1402, it was also possible to transfer various types of files between the four messengers Ita, Yes, Gap and IGP was established.
Although the date of connecting the messengers to each other was announced first in the decade of Fajr and then the end of 1401, but finally it was in the last days of April that the first phase of this connection was implemented. Of course, contrary to the promise of the Ministry of Communications to connect all Iranian messengers to each other, until today only four messengers – Ita, Yes, Gap and IGap – have joined this plan and connected to each other.
Zarepour promised at the launch meeting of this plan that other messengers, including Rubica, which according to him has nearly 40 million monthly active users, and Soroush Plus, which has about 10 million monthly active users, will soon connect to other messengers. According to the Minister of Communications, interconnection is a feature that messengers must have in order to benefit from the support of the Ministry of Communications:
“In the Ministry of Communications, we have considered a standard that the support of the ministry from now on includes messengers that go to the cloud, use the resources that we provide them optimally, and implement the criteria that we notify them of, including this mutual connection. do.”
The ability to transfer text messages and files between these four messengers is only the first phase of the interconnection plan, and according to the announcement of the Minister of Communications, in the next phases of this plan, it will be possible to form a joint group between users of different messengers, as well as the possibility of making audio and video calls.
In the unveiling ceremony of this plan, Zarepour explained the problems and issues of the messaging field last year as follows: “Given the conditions that arose in the country last year and the decision of the competent institutions to impose restrictions, our work to create the necessary infrastructure for the field “Messaging, solving the problems of internal messengers and providing them with the resources they need multiplied.”
According to him, the result of the efforts of the Ministry of Communications and the country’s messaging activists was that good facilities were provided for this area in a sustainable manner, and as a result, the number of Iranian users in this messaging has now reached several tens of millions. Zarepour even points out that some users outside Iran also use these Iranian platforms, and the Ministry of Communications is trying to increase the number of these users by developing messaging services.
Explaining the importance of the progress and development of native platforms and messengers, he stated: “The future world is the world of platforms; “Any country that does not have digital assets will disappear from the face of the earth.” With this explanation, the Minister of Communications emphasized the effort to support platforms and their growth.
One of the efforts to improve messengers is to connect them to each other, the CEO of Messenger Gap said in the unveiling of the messenger interconnection plan that with the interconnection plan in the future, it will be possible to connect foreign platforms to local messengers, and in this way, “the community of Iranian users can “Foreign messengers should communicate legally.”
Zarepour and the managers of Ita, Yes, Gap and IGap messengers, who participated in this meeting in person and online, listed various advantages for this plan. Responding to people’s need for easier communication in different messengers, facilitating activities for businesses in the digital space, and making businesses accessible to more users are among the positive points that the attendees mentioned in this meeting for the implementation of this plan.
Referring to these advantages, the Minister of Communications explained that the global trend is towards the connection between different platforms, i.e. messengers and social networks. According to him, such a plan has attracted the attention of different countries due to its anti-monopoly and creating competition between platforms, and the European Union is developing and implementing laws in this field.
The Minister of Communications explained that although the countries of the world are also seeking to create interconnection between different platforms, Iran is one of the first countries to implement this plan:
“It is the first time in the world that messengers are interconnected. Of course, the world is moving in the same direction, but we are the first country to implement this plan. One day we may even be able to connect to foreign messengers and social networks. We are also investigating and following this path.”
Of course, the most important issue that is raised in other countries regarding the interconnection plan or cross-connection of platforms is the issue of ensuring the security of users and their data. An issue that has been worrying for experts and users in Iran, and after the announcement of the connection of messengers, how to ensure this security has become a question.
Zarepour explained how messengers are connected and said about their security challenges: “There is no center called the message exchange center in the interconnection plan. Messengers connect to each other according to a secure and standard protocol.
According to him, this protocol is end to end encryption and completely encrypted. Zarepour emphasized that “these protocols have been written and implemented, and the messages are now encrypted.” The Minister of Communications further added: “As a regulator, we have developed this protocol and are monitoring their implementation.”
Despite the fact that protocols have been prepared in this field and this connection has been implemented based on these protocols, one of the problems is that unlike other countries or the European Union, which first develop laws to apply this plan and then implement the connection plan. are implemented, the interconnection plan in our country has first reached the implementation stage, but its laws have not yet been approved.
In response to the same issue, Issa Zarepour told Zomit reporter: “We have compiled a set of rules for the activity of messaging platforms based on the rules of the Supreme Council of Cyber Space, which is on the way to approval. These standards will soon be approved by the regulatory commission and based on that, we will give the messengers a license for their activities so that the platforms should be accountable to the people based on these standards.”
Of course, Zarepour pointed out that there are laws related to privacy in the country and, for example, the bill for the protection of users’ data is being pursued: “This bill has been finalized and it is being discussed in the government or in the special working group for the digital economy. “There was a legal dispute, and finally it was decided that this bill will be reviewed by the government, which hopefully will happen soon.”
In response to the question that until the approval of the aforementioned rules and regulations, if the user’s data suffers from a security problem, which institution is responsible for dealing with this issue, he said: “We are in charge of ensuring the quality, security and stability of messenger services and testing their security.” We do it all the time so that, God willing, there will be no problem.” However, there is still no clear answer to the question of which institution is responsible for dealing with problems that may arise for the security of users.
Zarepour also explained about problems such as the low speed of sending files in Iranian messengers: “This interconnection is a new service and we have provided the necessary resources to the messengers so that they can provide high-quality services to the people, but this is a new work and “Any new work may have problems at the beginning that will be solved over time.”
The plan to connect Ita, Yes, Gap and IGap messengers has been implemented in the first phase, and now users can send messages or files to other messengers by activating this feature using the updated version of these messengers. Of course, this feature is only activated by the user’s request, and if he does not want to activate this feature for any reason, this mutual connection will not be done.
Also, according to the announcement of the Minister of Communications, in case of problems or to ask questions, users can contact the support of messengers or the 1649 center.