As political tensions increase in Iran, online communities are ramping up their opposition efforts. The Iranian government continues to restrict access to the Web, but many opposition supporters are still able to share news and information online.
In response to the publicity around opposition protests, Iran has reportedly begun the process of restricting the movements of foreign journalists. But when any Iranian citizen carrying a cell phone or camera can become an instant journalist, how important is Iran's crackdown on foreign media?
Here's a breakdown of current online tools in use in Iran.
Despite the fact that the government is trying to stop Iranians from using Twitter by blocking the site and halting access to SMS services within the country, tech-savvy protesters continue to find ways to deliver their messages of 140 characters or less.
Twitter has become so important to Iranian protesters, or at least perceived as such, the microblogging network rescheduled a maintenance hour planned for Monday night Pacific time. The shutdown would have made Twitter inaccessible during the day in Iran, cutting off an important tool used by opposition supporters to disseminate information. Working with its hosting partner, NTT America, Twitter was able to reschedule that maintenance to Tuesday from 2 to 3 p.m. PT, which is 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in Iran.
In a blog post, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone acknowledged "the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran." It's hard to know how effective and widespread Twitter is as an organizing tool, but the microblogging network has clearly become a way for protesters to share information with each other and the world.
Twitter's power isn't restricted to the streets of Tehran either. Check out our previous coverage of how outrage on Twitter has caused some American cable news networks to increase their coverage of the trouble in Iran.
Wary that opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi Mousavi was using Facebook to organize his campaign, the Iranian government cut off and then restored access to Facebook in late May.
After Friday's vote, access to Facebook was again cut off to Iranians, and current reports indicate the social network is still inaccessible within the Islamic Republic.
Since the Iranian government continues to block specific sites, especially social networks, Iranians are using proxy servers to get around regional restrictions. A proxy server can mask your real location and allow you to fool regional censorship filters letting you access blocked sites.
Despite the effectiveness of this work-around, the ability to access proxy servers is starting to become more of a challenge for Iranian activists. The Wall Street Journal reports that activists are trying to stay one step ahead of government censors who are actively blocking new proxies.