Iran’s parliament has agreed to allocate 2 percent of income from all bank transaction fees to the cyber police unit that plays a major role in Internet censorship.
During a Monday session to discuss next year’s budget bill, the lawmakers approved some notes and clauses that will require banks and credit institutions to give two percent of their total proceeds from the electronic banking system transactions to strengthen the cyber police, also known by its Persian acronym FATA.
The unit was established in 2008 to help fight cyber crime but it plays a major role in censoring the internet by blocking thousands of websites and social media apps in a bid to control the flow of information. The unit is usually controlled by an IRGC official.
In cooperation with the Central Bank of Iran, the treasury will collect the money and give it to the Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic, which will spend it on different sections of the cyber police across the country.
Transaction fees in Iran are small but an estimate shows FATA can receive at least $10 million from the scheme approved by parliament.
The allocation of the additional budget to FATA police, which is the most important force in monitoring cyberspace has increased speculations about the possibility of approving a controversial bill to further restrict access to the Internet.
Iranians were outraged last week when a group of 18 hardliners in a parliament committee claimed that they had ratified a bill to further restrict internet and social media access.