Hacker Helps Iranian Protesters by Proxy

San Franciscan playing cat and mouse online in order to help Iranians organize

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009  |  Updated 9:00 PM EDT
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Hacker Helps Iranian Protesters by Proxy

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With the help of hackers, Iranians protesting recent elections are managing to keep in touch with the world.

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As protesters in Iran started using online tools to organize and publicize disaffection with national election results, the Iranian government just as quickly began to cut off access to those tools.

But with the help of hackers like San Francisco's Austin Heap, they're managing to get the word out anyway.

Heap, an IT professional, has been helping activists in Iran circumvent government restrictions by maintaining lists of Internet proxies -- which can route traffic around blocks and help users remain anonymous.

Right now, the work is for naught, as Iran has blocked nearly all Internet access throughout the country.

For his trouble, Heap has been subject to counter-attacks and emailed threats.

But he hasn't given up trying to help, especially since the positive responses have been so powerful.

"Most of the reactions from Iran have almost made me cry," Heap told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Jackson West would like to point out that our own regime hasn't been so great about keeping the Internet free from spying and censorship.

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