Week in review: Twittering for Tehran

Protesters usurp attempts to suppress news of a voter revolution, while the iPhone 3G S and the iPhone 3.0 OS make their debut. Also: Google's digital books.

Twitter made its case this week that it's up to the task of being a player in geopolitical journalism.

The Iranian government, which is attempting to control the flow of information among protesters of the supposed results of that nation's presidential election, is having difficulty stopping citizens from using technology to report what's happening, express outrage, and get people out to opposition rallies.

Twitter users are urging each other to change their location settings to confuse censors in Iran. Twitter

Because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran, information gathered on the Web is crucial to its understanding of the post-election unrest that has led to mass protests and fatal clashes with police. Twitter, where users have been filtering relevant information with the hashtag #iranelection, has been a crucial hot spot for raw news.

Twitter even rescheduled some planned downtime in order to stay accessible for Iranian users in the midst of political upheaval at the request of the U.S. Department of State. The diplomacy agency is working with multiple social-networking and communication services to ensure that conversation and information channels stay active.

One technique being employed to get around the government's online blockades is the electronic equivalent of a detour , which involves using something known as a proxy server.

Normally, a Web browser makes a connection directly to a Web site's Internet address. But that address can be easily discovered and added to the government's blacklist. The trick is to redirect Web browsing through a proxy, which could be a permanent commercial service, or someone volunteering his or her computer temporarily.

Worried that the Iranian government might seek out and punish any Twitter users who were employing the microblogging site for potentially subversive purposes, Twitterers are encouraging others to change their stated country of origin . Certainly, the Iranian government knows how to use Twitter and how to find people in that country using the microblogging service as a way to spread news about the protests.

The easiest way the Iranian government could discover which tweets were from Iranians is to look at whose accounts are registered to people who identify themselves as being from that country. A new thread that spread quickly across Twitter urged people around the world to change those settings in order to make themselves appear to be in Tehran.
•  With Iran crisis, Twitter's youth is over
•  State Department comments on 'talks' with Twitter
•  '#CNNFail': Twitterverse slams network's Iran absence
•  Google, Facebook rush Iranian language support

More headlines

iPhone 3G S debuts

It doesn't offer quite the same leap that the iPhone 3G offered over the first model, but the latest Apple handset still is a compelling upgrade for some users.
•  iPhone 3G S begins shipping to customers
•  Analyst expects 500,000 iPhones sold this weekend
•  AT&T loosens its iPhone 3G S upgrade policy
•  Microsoft: No iPhone reimbursements for workers
• Full coverage: Apple iPhone
• iPhone OS 3.0 now available

<b>Scattered reports of iPhone OS 3.0 update problems

Most iPhone and iPod Touch users say they've had success in updating their devices with the new operating system, but a smattering have hit roadblocks.
&#149;&nbsp; Some apps have age restriction warnings in iPhone OS 3.0
&#149;&nbsp; iPhone 3.0 a cut-and-paste win for Twitter

<b>The day after the DTV transition

The DTV transition has come and gone, and the world did not end. But FCC officials say their work will continue to make sure that no one is left behind.
&#149;&nbsp; Good-bye, rabbit ears? Not so fast

<b>Google's digital-book future hangs in the balance

Google Book Search has the potential to unlock the musty archives of the world's libraries. But will it overcome antitrust obstacles and other opposition?
&#149;&nbsp; Bezos: We've got issues with Google Book Search
&#149;&nbsp; Google Book Search gets a face-lift

<b>Apple warns about unsupported players' iTunes integration

A support article appeared on Apple's site Tuesday warning about unsupported third-party digital-media players.
&#149;&nbsp; Palm responds to Apple's warning

<b>Will new browsers really upgrade the Web?

The latest browsers sport many hot new features. But the avant-garde must reckon with inconsistent standards, lagging IE, and slow adoption.
&#149;&nbsp; Firefox 3.5 'Web upgrade' planned for end of June
•  Mozilla pushes Firefox 3.5 RC to beta testers
&#149;&nbsp; Google: We want Chrome to grow the Web
•  Opera tries to Unite users across browsers

Also of note
&#149;&nbsp; AMD, Congo, and the perils of code names
&#149;&nbsp; Microsoft gives up YouTube chase
&#149;&nbsp; Court orders Jammie Thomas to pay RIAA $1.92 million

 

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