Internet Support for Human Rights

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From the NY Times:

Cameran Ashraf was instant-messaging from Los Angeles with an activist in Iran during anti-government demonstrations Feb. 11 when the chat went dead.

Had Iran’s government “shut down the Internet” to thwart dissidents from organizing online, or had the authorities come to arrest the man, Mr. Ashraf said he wondered as he described the incident during an online video interview. Mr. Ashraf, who says he sees himself as a digital aid worker, immediately alerted other Iranian contacts to block surveillance of their Web traffic.

A 29-year-old American whose parents emigrated from Iran, Mr. Ashraf is a co-founder of AccessNow, a group of tech-savvy volunteers who joined forces during Iran’s crackdown on election protests last year to help Iranians evade censorship. They are the type of cyberactivists the U.S. State Department is seeking to support with $50 million in funds for an expanding counteroffensive against suppression of Internet freedom.

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