Iranian Protesters Stay One Step Ahead in the Cyber World

In the face of a tightening government grip on all things viral, Iranians have managed to circumvent the communication restrictions laid upon them to tell the world their story in ways previously thought to be reserved only for social networking. For anyone who has so much as glanced at the news during the past week, Twitter has been the name of the game for Iranian protesters.

With a limitation of 140 characters per post, only the most pertinent information is tweeted—rally locations, real-time updates, and details only those on the ground can see. While sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been blocked off before, Iranians have continued to gain access to them via proxies, servers that allow users to access another site through them. Proxy sites are continuously being updated in an effort to stay one step ahead of the Iranian government’s filtering apparatus.

The Iranian government’s strategy for blocking the flow of information appears to be two-fold. Foreign news services have all been asked to leave (just this morning, the BBC reporter Jon Leyne, one of the few reporters left, was given a similar request) and the internet speed has been slowed to a snail’s pace. According to the Wall Street Journal, limiting bandwidth in this manner is meant to discourage and frustrate users so much that they’ll give up.

This strategy is, for now, not working. Iranians have harnessed the internet in ingenious ways—from their Twitter posts to uploaded YouTube videos. All major news networks have caught on to the phenomenon, allowing the messages coming out of Iran to truly reach the entire world.

Samah Choudhury contributed to this post

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9 thoughts on “Iranian Protesters Stay One Step Ahead in the Cyber World

  1. A.alaikum…its realy sad to see ma felow muslims in dis critical time..would lov to urge iranian goverment to do action to stop ths bloodshedin..as for those arrested they should be free as they are fighting for their right…i hereby request iranian people to peace out…may peace be upon u all.

  2. A.alaikum…its realy sad to see ma felow muslims in dis critical time..would lov to urge iranian goverment to do action to stop ths bloodshedin..as for those arrested they should be free as they are fighting for their right…i hereby request iranian people to peace out…may peace be upon u all.

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  4. I have read carefully the call for action regarding the current situation in Iran, and I would like to make a general comment:

    To my mind the Government of Iran is simply exercising its constitutional right/duty to keep unruly mobs from disturbing the public quiet. The US Government would not act differently if confronted with a similar situation. You acknowledge yourselves that "rampant violence …(has) filled the streets of Tehran and other cities in the wake of Iran's hotly contested presidential elections". I wonder what could have happened in the U.S had similarly "hotly contested presidential elections" about 9 years ago produced violent street demonstrations in Washington and other U.S. cities … Yet, you decry the Iranian Goverment' s reaction as brutal repression. By the same token, about two years ago I was bewildered by your characterization of the Chinese Government's reaction to looting, arson and murder of Chinese citizens by (purported) Tibetan nationalists in Lhasa also as brutal repression. And very recently you called for action in the case of two U.S. journalists who were detained and imprisoned by the North Korean Government after they clandestinely (and, therefore, illegally) slipped into the country. Are Mexican inmigrants who crosss ilegally into the US perhaps treated with silk gloves?

    I am sorry to have to say that I have the impression that Amnesty International USA in many cases comes suspiciously close to toeing the line of the US State Department by selectively denouncing violantions of human rights in countries which are officially at odds with the United States while keeping silent on other blatant violantions.

    Such selectivity prevents you from noticing (and denouncing) gross and ugly violations of human rights for example in my own country, Colombia, where the military customarily executes innocent civilians whom they then disguise and present as guerrilla combattants, apparently in order to collect monetary and other rewards. The cases denounced so far number in the hundreds, perhaps even thousands. The state intelligence service and police have illegally wiretapped the opposition, including politicians, journalists and members of the judiciary. Also, I never heard or read a word from Amnesty International USA on the recent massacre of Indians in Peru's Amazonian region (some 70 people were reported killed) after they protested the issuance of Government decrees granting oil and gas rights to transnational companies to comply with the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States.

    I have applauded and commended the stand of Amnesty International USA on many, many issues, including those related to Guantanamo, torture and the like. But I do not feel at ease with its stand on issues such as those I mentioned above. Please show me that I am somehow wrong and that you are indeed the universal champions of Human Rights that we all want you to be.

    Sincerely yours,

    Jaime A. Novoa-Barrero

  5. I have read carefully the call for action regarding the current situation in Iran, and I would like to make a general comment:

    To my mind the Government of Iran is simply exercising its constitutional right/duty to keep unruly mobs from disturbing the public quiet. The US Government would not act differently if confronted with a similar situation. You acknowledge yourselves that “rampant violence …(has) filled the streets of Tehran and other cities in the wake of Iran’s hotly contested presidential elections”. I wonder what could have happened in the U.S had similarly “hotly contested presidential elections” about 9 years ago produced violent street demonstrations in Washington and other U.S. cities … Yet, you decry the Iranian Goverment’ s reaction as brutal repression. By the same token, about two years ago I was bewildered by your characterization of the Chinese Government’s reaction to looting, arson and murder of Chinese citizens by (purported) Tibetan nationalists in Lhasa also as brutal repression. And very recently you called for action in the case of two U.S. journalists who were detained and imprisoned by the North Korean Government after they clandestinely (and, therefore, illegally) slipped into the country. Are Mexican inmigrants who crosss ilegally into the US perhaps treated with silk gloves?

    I am sorry to have to say that I have the impression that Amnesty International USA in many cases comes suspiciously close to toeing the line of the US State Department by selectively denouncing violantions of human rights in countries which are officially at odds with the United States while keeping silent on other blatant violantions.

    Such selectivity prevents you from noticing (and denouncing) gross and ugly violations of human rights for example in my own country, Colombia, where the military customarily executes innocent civilians whom they then disguise and present as guerrilla combattants, apparently in order to collect monetary and other rewards. The cases denounced so far number in the hundreds, perhaps even thousands. The state intelligence service and police have illegally wiretapped the opposition, including politicians, journalists and members of the judiciary. Also, I never heard or read a word from Amnesty International USA on the recent massacre of Indians in Peru’s Amazonian region (some 70 people were reported killed) after they protested the issuance of Government decrees granting oil and gas rights to transnational companies to comply with the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States.

    I have applauded and commended the stand of Amnesty International USA on many, many issues, including those related to Guantanamo, torture and the like. But I do not feel at ease with its stand on issues such as those I mentioned above. Please show me that I am somehow wrong and that you are indeed the universal champions of Human Rights that we all want you to be.

    Sincerely yours,

    Jaime A. Novoa-Barrero

  6. Dear Jaime, excellent letter. Colombia's bloody & brutal regime should be in our crosshairs. i completely agree.

    The massacre of Indians in the Amazon was activated on, however, by Amnesty. Hope to see more on the burning issues in Indian South & Central America.

    On Tibet i disagree with you, dear friend. Chinese citizens murdered in Lhasa ? The wages of setter imperialism, as in Palestine. Do you know Lhasa's become a Jerusalem with a cornered & shrinking Tibetan quarter ? Precisely owing to citizens who treat Tibetans like the white man treats the Indians of the Americas. And now the Chinese iron horse has invaded Tibet. The oppressed don't always get a Bolivarian atmosphere to struggle within.

    The way immigrants ar treated in El Norte's no ideal blueprint for the way journalists should be treasted anywhere, dear brother. But you are right — Amnesty does often make its cases in the spirit & terminology of the U.S. State Dept. Your words of caution ought to be heeded by them with a great deal of care & consciousness, & appropriately acted upon to wards change. i hope i can hear your solidly argued words more often.

  7. Dear Jaime, excellent letter. Colombia’s bloody & brutal regime should be in our crosshairs. i completely agree.

    The massacre of Indians in the Amazon was activated on, however, by Amnesty. Hope to see more on the burning issues in Indian South & Central America.

    On Tibet i disagree with you, dear friend. Chinese citizens murdered in Lhasa ? The wages of setter imperialism, as in Palestine. Do you know Lhasa’s become a Jerusalem with a cornered & shrinking Tibetan quarter ? Precisely owing to citizens who treat Tibetans like the white man treats the Indians of the Americas. And now the Chinese iron horse has invaded Tibet. The oppressed don’t always get a Bolivarian atmosphere to struggle within.

    The way immigrants ar treated in El Norte’s no ideal blueprint for the way journalists should be treasted anywhere, dear brother. But you are right — Amnesty does often make its cases in the spirit & terminology of the U.S. State Dept. Your words of caution ought to be heeded by them with a great deal of care & consciousness, & appropriately acted upon to wards change. i hope i can hear your solidly argued words more often.