June 19th, 2009

passing it on

If anyone is on twitter, set your location to Tehran and your time zone to GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location/timezone searches. The more people at this location, the more of a logjam it creates for forces trying to shut Iranians' access to the internet down. Cut & paste & please pass it on.

Twitter captures Iran's rebels
A MAN bled to death on a street in Tehran on Monday. As one bystander tenderly held his head, five others held out their cameras.

They captured photos and videos of the man and of the blood that stained his white shirt. On Wednesday afternoon, an anonymous individual uploaded the video to YouTube, where it was viewed by thousands and shared by bloggers.

YouTube said it had relaxed its usual restrictions on violent videos to allow the images from Iran to reach the world.

On Wednesday, the Revolutionary Guard warned that protesters trying to stoke tensions using internet sites like Twitter would be subject to retribution.

Opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is using his public profile page on Facebook to organise protests. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has defended US efforts to ensure the Twitter social networking service remains available for use by protesters, even as Tehran complained about US interference in its affairs.

"I wouldn't know a Twitter from a tweeter, but, apparently, it is very important," Mrs Clinton said.

She said she considered it important to keep "that line of communication open and enabling people to share information, particularly at a time when there (were) not many other sources of information".

Cyber-sympathisers from around the world have been battling online to help Iranian protesters dodge censorship, transmit news of clashes and avoid capture.

"The revolution may not be televised in Iran but it may well be tweeted," a Twitter user said on Wednesday.

Online allies have set up scores of "proxy servers", internet-linked computers that can be used by people inside Iran to get around blocks imposed to stifle the spread of news about election protests.

For days, Twitter users have been changing time and location settings to make it appear they are messaging from Tehran to make it harder for authorities to find those really tweeting from that country.