Update: Iran and Twitter

Here’s something from Debka that adds point to my earlier reservations about Twittered revolutions. Some excerpts:

Part of the reason (the Iranian demonstrations petered out) was their organizers’ heavy reliance on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other social sites to orchestrate their protest movement. They did not at first appreciate that Iranian intelligence Internet experts, operating from secret headquarters established months ago, were using their communications to shoot them down…

The high-end apparatus, installed in late 2008 by the German Siemens AG and Finnish Nokia Corp. cell phone giant, gave Iranian intelligence the most advanced tools anywhere for controlling, inspecting, censoring and altering Internet and cell phone messaging. Those tools were being used weeks before the poll to identify penetrations by alien spy services, their local agents and dissident activists…

Within a few days of their protest, Mir Hossein Mousavi and the bulk of his supporters, realizing their electronic campaign had been taken over by the regime to hunt them down, disappeared from the streets of Tehran.

Debka is occasionally too quick to credit rumors in its zeal to scoop the mainstream news organizations. I suspect they’re right on the money this time, though. The Internet was never designed to be secure. It can be a great mobilizer in a democracy. In a dictatorship, it’s more likely to be a trap.

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