Maybe Tech Activists Are Resolving U.S. Democracy-Promotion Dilemmas
As an addendum to this post, one thing that you do see on the #IranElection hashtag are requests for help with proxy servers and other means of either combatting cyberattack or accessing the internet. That would seem to be an example where the United States could do something for the Iranian opposition in accordance with Trita Parsi’s stay-two-steps-behind-them rule. And it’s probably better in that case for such action to come from Americans acting on their own initiative, rather than a more-problematic government response. Danger Room’s Noah Shachtman raises the curtain on Web2.0-based material support for the opposition:
What started out as an attempt to overload a small set of official sites has now expanded, network security consultant Dancho Danchev notes. News outlets like Raja News are being attacked, too. The semi-official Fars News site is currently unavailable.
“We turned our collective power and outrage into a serious weapon that we could use at our will, without ever having to feel the consequences. We practiced distributed, citizen-based warfare,” writes Matthew Burton, a former U.S. intelligence analyst who joined in the online assaults, thanks to a “push-button tool that would, upon your click, immediately start bombarding 10 Web sites with requests.”
Additionally, the State Department apparently worked with Twitter last night to stop yesterday’s scheduled site maintenance.