The Iranian parliament’s ‘Protection Bill’ will hand over complete control of the internet to authorities, ARTICLE 19 reports

The ‘Cyberspace Users Rights Protection and Regulation of Key Online Services’ dubbed as the ‘Protection Bill’ or Tarh-e Sianat (طرح صیانت) in Persian will be endorsed by the Iranian parliament in the following two months. The bill was criticised by ARTICLE 19 for clamping down on the rights to freedom of expression online and the privacy of internet users. It will further restrict access to international services by imposing a blanket ban against all online services providers, i.e. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. ‘The Bill, if implemented in its current form, will potentially lead to a blanket ban against all international online services, effectively placing the people of Iran in an information blackhole, making accessing even the basic services such as email and messaging tools not be possible,’ Saloua Ghazouani, ARTICLE 19 Middle East and North Africa Programme Director, noted. Additionally, the bill provides the armed forces and security agencies with a leverage to control the internet infrastructure and gateways.