Stop Fundamentalism – Closing in on the Iranian regime’s parliamentary elections in March, the Iranian authorities announced today the launch of a new police force to enforce Islamic Republic’s laws on the internet. The force is called FTTA which is short for the name of agency “production and exchange of information space,” in Persian.
While the force had officially been working in the country for the past year, the peculiar announcement said that the force for Tehran started operation just today.
“40 percent of the cyber crimes in the country take place in Tehran,” said an official police deputy adding, “The purpose of the force is to create a secure atmosphere on the internet.”
The force, as a starter, announced this morning that it has arrested four individuals for administrating of an Iranian friendship and dating site on Facebook named “Daff-o-Puff”. The network had apparently over 27,000 members in Iran who were mostly of young age. As a result of the arrest, apparently the Facebook page is now in control of the cyber police displaying a message from regime agents saying it has been confiscated by the cyber police.
The Iranian authorities have been talking about different measures to control the internet. One major announcement was about starting a National Internet, disconnecting the country from the World Wide Web. The plan seems to have proven unrealistic and unproductive since and the regime officials have apparently backed down from the claim since.
The country is also getting closer to yet another election, this time for its parliament. Continuing power struggles and infightings between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei raise concerns among regime’s ranks as . The 2009 after-election protests were credited for most to internet social networks and specifically the Twitter network. Giving a boost to the cyber police can be considered new efforts by the mullahs to control the cyber space in an attempt to prevent another disturbance as a result of the upcoming elections.