Just last month, an amusement park in the capital of the nation was closed by the authorities after a photo of an employee went viral without hijab. Prosecutors in Tehran have reportedly opened an investigation.
Iranian lawmakers suggested the use of facial recognition technology and AI to identify those who resist the draconian hijab laws of the country.
The country has been embroiled in violent protests since September 2022 after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Women of Iran have come against the mandatory hijab law that requires women to wear a face covering in public. This provision is strictly enforced by Iran’s so-called morality police and women who defy it could face punishment.
Throughout recent months, we saw videos of woman-led protests in Iran with open disobedience of the compulsory hijab law. Up until this point, more than 580 individuals have died in the dangerous protest and riots that have come to address the demands for women’s rights in the region.
The head of an Iranian government agency that enforces morality law said in a September interview that the technology would be used “to identify inappropriate and unusual movements,” including “failure to observe hijab laws.” Individuals could be identified by checking faces against a national identity database to levy fines and make arrests, he said.
Experts believe that the technology is currently being used by the Iranian government because there have been cases in which women were arrested from their homes. Iran’s national identity database was set up in 2015 and includes precarious information including biometric data, face scans, etc. and is currently being used to capture dissenters.
Wearing a hijab in public has been mandatory for women in Iran since 1979. According to the non-profit United for Iran, about 5,000 people have been jailed since 2011 for violation of hijab rules.