#iranelection – Part 2 – the beginners guide to cyberwar

Dear friends,

Following from the positive reaction to the first guide, I’ve been asked to follow it up, this time I will go into a bit more detail.  We have learned a lot in the past week about the value (and challenges) of using new social media to show our support for the protest movement in Iran.

In this guide I will segment categories of engagement, and I urge you not to step beyond your capabilities in choosing which category to confine yourself in, there where you can make the most constructive contribution. Below the general principles you will find sections for the three categories of Supporter, Activist, and Cyberwarrior. Continue reading “#iranelection — Part 2 — the beginners guide to cyberwar”

#iranelection cyberwar guide for beginners

The purpose of this guide is to help you participate constructively in the Iranian election protests through twitter.

  1. Do NOT publicise proxy IP’s over twitter, and especially not using the #iranelection hashtag.  Security forces are monitoring this hashtag, and the moment they identify a proxy IP they will block it in Iran.  If you are creating new proxies for the Iranian bloggers, DM them to @stopAhmadi or @iran09 and they will distributed them discretely to bloggers in Iran.
  2. Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.
  3. Keep you bull$hit filter up!  Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters.  Please don’t retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting.  The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.
  4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30.  Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches.  If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.
  5. Don’t blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don’t publicise their name or location on a website.  These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don’t signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind.
  6. Denial of Service attacks. If you don’t know what you are doing, stay out of this game. Only target those sites the legitimate Iranian bloggers are designating.  Be aware that these attacks can have detrimental effects to the network the protesters are relying on.  Keep monitoring their traffic to note when you should turn the taps on or off.
  7. Do spread the (legitimate) word, it works!  When the bloggers asked for twitter maintenance to be postponed using the #nomaintenance tag, it had the desired effect. As long as we spread good information, provide moral support to the protesters, and take our lead from the legitimate bloggers, we can make a constructive contribution.

Please remember that this is about the future of the Iranian people, while it  might be exciting to get caught up in the flow of participating in a new meme, do not lose sight of what this is really about.

UPDATE: Part 2 of this guide is now published.

A bright future for the spoken word…

Today I had lunch with a fascinating man…

He is a man with a passion for the spoken word, and a vision for how the fading oral traditions from around world will have a place to explode back into our consciousness, and feed a void that grows within us.

We now have the potential to connect with an infinite pool of like minded people without consideration for geographic boundaries or distance…  Social media can connect us to the people we need to engage with in a way inconceivable not a decade ago.  With new technology we develop new social skills, fitting for the society and tools we constantly evolve.

But what of the old society, what of the old skills, what of the old traditions that formed  the social human as it is now?

We talked of Saxon halls, Celtic roundhouses, and Scandinavian longhouses. Those altars where the basis for modern human communication evolved.   We discussed ritual, discourse, poetry, theatre and debate.  The forms of communication that, each in its own right, expanded the horizons of the human within and the potential of society evolve to the beyond.

image credit wili_hybrid - http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/
image credit wili_hybrid - http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/

I was reminded of a very dear friend, decendant of the shamanic traditions,  dismissed by a modern society as defunct and a lost cause.  He can be found most days anaesthetised from his rejection through the medium of booze.  Yet he is a keeper of all of the traditions that have brought us to this amazing present.  And in our modern connected online utopia we no longer value him…

A long time ago we sat around the fire in a circle and shared stories.  Now we tweet and blog them without ever needing to make eye contact.  It is the cherishing, the traditions, the forms, and the practice of the spoken word that have brought us from the fire to where we are now.

And the man I had lunch with today, he has a grand vision for the spoken word.  That its traditions be preserved, propagated, taught, championed, housed, and celebrated.  In some years time, when this vision has been realised, I know which fire I will be heading for.

The man I had lunch with today…, his name is William Ayot, and you will hear his name again.

DS4 International Digital Storytelling Festival – 17 June – Wales

DS4, the fourth annual International Festival of Digital Storytelling, is back with a vengance.

Acknowledged by the BBC’s Gareth Morlais (read his blog here!) to be one of the two ‘must attend’ gatherings in the calendar for practitioners or fans of Digital Storytelling, DSCymru looks forward to welcoming you to Aberystwyth in beautiful west Wales for a day of inspirational speakers, educational workshops, and invaluable networking time.

Programme details and online registration can be found at the festival website.

Featuring an excellent line-up including Bonnie Shaw from snap-shot-city and one of the most inspiring online community building outfits out there; adventure creator Annette Mees of Coney fame; and the wild man of digital storytelling himself, the inimitable Huw Davies who was (almost) tamed by the BBC, released into the wild, and now he’s back to report on his adventures!

I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in Aberystwyth!

Overcoming the hurdles: public sector engagement and social media

This is a great list doing the rounds of the hurdles that public sector organisations face when trying to take on board the opportunities of social media.  I see this every day, and this initial analysis will go a long way to helping us help people confront the institutional prejudice that exists within our organisations.

Overcoming the Hurdles

There are many small hurdles to effective use of social media and technology in public services. In democratic engagement and participation; communications and outreach; education; or just about any other area of work – the same soluble barriers hold up action.

This wiki builds upon this blog post and offers a space to share learning about how to overcome the many small hurdles.

Select any of the Hurdles listed below to add your comments, insights and experiences on how they affect the uptake of social technologies, or how they can be overcome.

Internet Access

1. Access to Web 2.0 sites is blocked or filtered;

2. Requesting that a website is unblocked requires a form to be filled in and the request may not be actioned for 24 hours or more;

3. A site that has previously been unblocked is suddenly blocked again;

4. A site is only unblocked for the computer a staff member usually sits at – and they are unable to access Web 2.0 Sites from another part of the office or another desk;

5. Web 2.0 Sites can only be accessed during lunch hours;

6. Managers see abuse of ICT resources as an ICT issue rather than a management issue;

7. ict staff see access to Web 2.0 sites as an issue for ICT decision making rather than for team leaders and managers;

8. There is no capacity to provide staff with internet-enabled mobile phones even if a business case can be made;

9. Staff are not aware of the ict internet access and mobile phone/internet access resources they can legitimately ask for;

10. Permission to use Web 2.0 is granted ad-hoc but not enshrined in policy so a change in ICT manager could make access more difficult;

Office Technology

11. Computer only have out-of-date Internet Browsers (E.g. IE6);

12. Staff cannot change their browsers home-page;

13. Staff cannot install browser plug-ins or add-ons and key plug-ins like Flash are out-of-date versions;

14. E-mail sign-up confirmations from Web 2.0 sites regularly get caught in spam filters;

15. Staff cannot install desktop widgets and utility software (e.g. Twitter clients RSS readers etc.) Many widgets have regular updates that staff cannot install themselves. So even if IT install the widget once, it soon needs a new install;

16. Office computers have no ability to play sound;

17. There is no easy way to get a photo onto an office computer. For example a personal photo to use as a profile picture online;

18. Any customisations staff add to their computer log-in are regularly lost;

19. There is no WiFi in meeting rooms and guests cannot get access to the internet in the building;

20. There is a one-size fits all IT policy;

Systems and Procedures

21. There are no finance procedures or company credit cards to pay for low-cost online subscription services;

22. There are no systems in place for backing up content from Web 2.0 tools;

23. There is no secure password vault that can be used to keep track of ‘corporate’ memberships of Web 2.0 sites;

24. There is no agreed way of notifying other staff members of plans for using Web 2.0 tools;

25. There are no policies or procedures for responding to positive or negative online comments;

26. There is no processes for carrying out CRB or Independent Safeguarding Authority checks on staff or sub-contractors involved in the use of Social Media to engage with young people or vulnerable adults;

Policy and Guidance

27. There are no policies on personal use of Social Networks and Social Media sites;

28. There is no accessible guidance available to staff on personal use of Social Networks and Social Media sites;

29. There is no policy on Safeguarding and Child Protection in digital environments;

30. There is no policy on Data Protection in digital environments – and no guidance on items of data which should not be shared in digital environments;

31. There are no policies on appropriate levels for official staff engagement with Web 2.0

32. Consent forms and model release forms make no mention of possibly sharing photos or videos from events and activities online;

Organisational Culture

33. Senior managers see Web 2.0 and the Social Web as something to be scared of;

34. Senior managers see Web 2.0 as a passing fad or at best a persistent distraction and minority interest;

35. Staff see Web 2.0 as an extra burden to add to already busy and pressured days;

36. Ideas from outside the organisations are treated with suspicion;

37. The organisation wants to be in control of any discussions that take place about it online;

38. The organisation wants to moderate every discussion that it is any way responsible to convening or starting;

39. The organisation wants to put it’s brand front-and-centre in every online engagement;

40. Service-user engagement is not valued;

Technical Skills

41. Staff have never received basic training in how a web browser web addresses and search engines work;

42. Staff are not aware of tabbed web-browsing;

43. Staff do not make use of search tools;

44. Staff find it difficult to adapt to and remember new ways of working digitally;

45. Staff are not able to download edit and upload images in web formats;

46. Staff do not know how to install new utility software or browser plug-ins;

47. Staff have no opportunities to share skills and develop their understanding of digital environments;

Leadership and Management

48. Managers do not support staff exploration and experimentation with Web 2.0;

49. Managers take no ownership over exploration and experimentation with Web 2.0 and provide no support to their staff;

50. Managers react to initial teething problems with Web 2.0 engagement by shutting it all down and banning further exploration of the potential;

This list originated on Tim’s Blog and now resides on the wiki at  http://www.practicalparticipation.co.uk/wiki/socialstrategy:start

Thanks to @AndrewPWilson and @levyj413 for bringing this to my attention.

Building Gods

When humans are limited to thinking in three dimensions, and robots develop the capacity to conceive of things in as many as ten or twenty dimensions… how do we reason with them?

When humans are limited to thinking in three dimensions, and robots develop the capacity to conceive of things in as many as ten or twenty dimensions… how do we reason with them?

A Philosopher, a Theologian, a Brain Builder, and a Cyborg discuss the potential implications for humanity when the technology we have evolved surpasses humans in super-intelligence and ability.

Ken Gumbs’ film certainly makes us question whether the discourse on the regulation of technological advancement is keeping apace with the implications that our progress will inevitable have on us a species in the future…

RSA – Clay Shirky – 18 March 2008

Clay Shirky 18 March 2008

Here Comes Everybody: the power of organising without organistions

Clay Shirky’s lucid and penetrating analysis will steer us through the online social explosion and ask what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organisational structures.

via RSA – Clay Shirky – 18 March 2008.