An Iranian woman holds the national flag during a rally commemorating the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
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A new smartphone application that helps Iranians dodge the Islamic Republic's "morality police" is proving popular with the young, tech-savvy population but has quickly fallen foul of the authorities.The Gershad app allows users who spot checkpoints set up by the morality police, who enforce Islamic dress and behavior codes, to tag their location on a Google map with an icon of a bearded man, enabling others to steer clear of them.The app was blocked by the authorities soon after it was released for Android devices on Monday but many Iranians bypass Internet restrictions by using a Virtual Private Network.Smartphone messaging applications are popular in Iran, where half of the population is aged under 25 .A recent poll suggested that about 20 million Iranians, around a quarter of Iran's population, use Telegram, a messaging app with a focus on privacy and security.Some Iranians have expressed concern on social media about Gershad's digital security in a country where the authorities frequently arrest social media users for sharing what they regard as "immoral" or "subversive" content.
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