Not content with simply cutting off Internet access to the entire country, the Syrian government has allegedly banned iPhone. The move comes after months of anti-government protests and a brutal response from the Syrian authority which have reportedly left thousands dead and put the country on the brink of civil war. The ban has been enacted presumably to prevent photos and video of government abuses from leaking out of the country, which has already banned foreign journalists.
News outlets reporting on the story credit the website Al Nashara with publicizing the ban, which was apparently issued by the Customs Department of the Syrian Finance Ministry. The warning is quoted as reading, “The authorities warn anyone against using the iPhone in Syria.” The Times Live reports that the affects of the ban are already being seen on the streets:
“It is enough for any tourist or guest visiting Syria to own an iPhone to be a spy suspect,” said one Syrian activist speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
While reports only name the iPhone as being targeted, it’s probably a safe assumption that no mobile device with a camera is exempt.
In a bizarre twist, the Times Live went on to quote their anonymous source as saying:
“Steve Jobs must be turning in his grave on learning that his iconic device is banned in his home country,” he added.
Jobs, who died in October, was raised by an adopted family and has an estranged Syrian father.
While disconnecting a nation’s Internet connection has, unfortunately, become startlingly commonplace in recent months, an iPhone ban is a surprising turn. It would seem to indicate that despite the limitations placed on the data infrastructure, the government still perceives these devices as a threat. Though where the situation will go from here is anyone’s guess.
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