Iran Censorship: Just One Part Of A Potential Future Cyberwar
Hackers dodging the hands of governments and police agencies has been going on since, well, "WarGames". In all seriousness, any time there is new technology put to use, there was always a segment of society who for one reason or another try to use it for purpose not intended or in ways that may be consider criminal.
But today, with the Green Movement of opposition leader, Hossein Mousavi, in Iran, mobile and Internet technologies couldn't be more valuable as a means of communications and setting up rallies. Which is why the government of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to clamp down on access to information wherever they may come from.
Perhaps you've read an article or two about the importance of Twitter and Facebook as weapons against Tehran's draconian. Media in the West has painted a portrait of the young tech savy followers of Mousavi. Supporters of Ahmadinejad certain have some geeks within his ranks but there is no disputing how technologies are being employed in political campaigns and movements (ask President Obama about his Presidential run) and possibly a successful Iranian revolt against ruling class.
One area where there has been no mention is virtual worlds like Second Life or games such as World of Warcraft. Couldn't players also enter these realms and use them as a tool to exchange information?
Here's a good CNN article about the valiant efforts by the protesters to exercise their free speech. Since the crackdown, the government were met with efforts by folks outside of Iran who set up virtual tunnels (proxies) to allow Iranians to cover their tracks or at the very least, avoid having their IP addresses tracked.
The article did point out that the information and photos coming out of Iran has dropped noticeably. One of the efforts people on the outside can help is to adjust their locations and local time to match Tehran's local time, thus, providing more false-positives for Iranian agents to track. At the same time, protesters can help themselves by switching to a location and time zone other than Tehran's.
Here's a not-so-veiled effort at a shameless plug, Chieh Cheng, a good friend and operator of Camerahacker, a popular digital and video site for enthusiasts, and I have been using Cirqo, an online IM and chatroom site, that's always on and "instant" as far as updates go, is willing to serve as an outlet for anyone who wishes to share information about the Green Movement (or anything else for that matter).
We've also have a Twitter copycat called "MeBlog" that works like Twitter and when linked using Tweetfeed, posts on Meblog will appear on Twitter.
Also try Friendfeed as well. And if there are other efforts to curtain government efforts like those of Iran or China, please share them with us.
Note: I discussed with some fair-minded folks about the possibilities about an Iranian Tiananmen. We decided with camera phones, some with video capture capabilities, practically everywhere, the government should pause before using deadly force against the freedom movement.