NEW YORK – Iran is reportedly working to block the navigation app Waze because it was founded and developed in Israel, a report from the Azerbaijan-based Trend News Agency said.
This is the second time in a year that the Islamic Republic sought to block the app. It did so for the first time in March due to “concerns” over its Israeli background. However, it was later reinstated.
TNA quoted the head of an Iranian cyberspace watchdog, the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, as saying that a committee had been established to urge the Iranian Communication Ministry to block the service to Iranians.
According to Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, the ministry would at first “filter” the app because a blanket ban would take more time due to Waze’s infrastructure.
Some critics have pointed out the inconsistency of Iran’s policy of banning Israeli products. In order to maintain its integrity, they say, the Islamic Republic should also consider banning all computers using Israeli-designed Intel chips or USB drives and even go as far as to ban any text messaging service – all of which have roots in Israel.
Waze was founded by Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine, and funded by two Israeli venture capital firms, Magma and Vertex, and early-stage American venture capital firm Bluerun Ventures, before being acquired by Google in 2013 for over $1 billion.