An anonymous group of developers in Iran have released a new smartphone application to help young fashion conscious Iranians avoid the country’s morality police known in Persian as “Ershad” or guidance.
The new Android app called “Gershad,” alerts users to checkpoints and helps them avoid police by choosing a different route. The data is crowdsourced.
App developers say the police can issue warnings, fines or even prosecution for “immoral behaviour”– those wearing too much makeup in public, or failing to wear a hijab, or citizens wearing western-influenced hairstyles and clothing.
The police are deployed in Iran by van and appear without notice a various checkpoints across towns.
In a statement on their website, the app’s developers explain their motives.
“Why do we have to be humiliated for our most obvious right which is the right to wear what we want?”
“Social media networks and websites are full of footage and photos of innocent women who have been beaten up and dragged on the ground by the Ershad patrol agents.”