Sunday 21 June 2009

Stupid things spotted on Twitter re. Iran protests

A few stupid things I spotted on Twitter with the #iranelection hashtag:
  • Advising protesters to hold a Quran ('Koran') when they go out to protest, saying "it is a sin in Islamic law to beat a person holding a Koran" (or similar - see examples) - implying that protesters with a Quran will be immune from police/militia beatings. Firstly, it's not technically 'against Islamic law'. Secondly - if they want to beat you, they'll simply take the Quran off you, and then beat you. No problem there - criminals (real & imagined) holding the Quran don't get leniency.

  • Advising protesters to mix ammonia & bleach to make a 'poisonous' solution to throw at and harm Basiji militia (examples). If it works, you give the government a good reason to shoot protesters, and legitimate evidence that they're 'hooligans'.

  • Publicly tweeting the addresses of proxy servers 'for Iranians to use'. Great, now the government knows which IP addresses to block (example from the usually tech-savvy Stephen Fry).

  • Links to perform denial-of-service attacks on Iranian government websites (especially pro-government news sources). Iran doesn't have big bandwidth pipes, and the bandwidth soaked up by a DDoS reduces bandwidth for all Iranians - including protesters trying to get their message out (who are already battling government net restrictions!). Though with this one, some sensible Twitterers have also advised against it (examples).