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Iran steps up internet control before presidential election
Today on the net: Iran tightens internet control ahead of the presidential election; a teenage pregnancy campaign in Chicago sparks lively reaction online; and Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei releases a music video.
Iran increases Internet control before presidential election
Slower Internet speeds, little or no access. Web users in Iran, and in Tehran in particular, have been experiencing all sorts of difficulties over the past few days. And as many have reported on social networks, they are in little doubt these Internet disruptions are connected to the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for June 14th.
They believe the Mullah regime will do anything to stop a repeat of the 2009 presidential election, when the highly contested re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted mass protests across the country. The Internet played a pivotal role in this movement as it was used by activists to plan, coordinate and report on events in Iran.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been banned ever since; the only way of accessing them is via VPNs, the Virtual Private Networks that allow users to get around the extensive government Internet filter. But in March, these tools were also blocked…
The authorities have denied any connection between the presidential election and the recent obstacles in accessing the Internet. But many suspect this is just another step towards the implementation of Iran’s ‘halal’ Internet: a nationwide intranet facility isolated from the World Wide Web, a project Iran has been working on for some years.
Chicago teen pregnancy campaign features pregnant boys
The Chicago Department of Public Health in the US is running a somewhat unusual poster campaign with the intended aim of reducing teenage pregnancy rates in the city, and has billboards featuring images of pregnant boys. The objective being to impress upon boys that pregnancy is not just the girl’s responsibility and that they should always use contraception. The ad campaign has been met with lively debate online.
Soon after the campaign went live, hundreds of Chicago residents began posting their impressions on social networks, under the hashtag #unexpected, in particular. The majority of web users have hailed the city’s health authorities, saying this hard hitting campaign is highly effective as it makes it easier for adults and teenagers to discuss an especially taboo subject.
But not everyone is quite so enthusiastic: this web user wonders what the impact the ad campaign will actually have on its target audience: teenagers. He does not think they will take it seriously, particularly the boys, because they know full well they cannot fall pregnant.
But in spite of any criticism Chicago is rolling out its awareness campaign, in the streets, on public transport and also online, with two websites providing all sorts of information on different methods of contraception and advice on what to do in the event of an unplanned pregnancy.
Wikipedia recent changes map
This website was built by two American programmers, Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi and displays recent changes to Wikipedia in real time, on a map of the world. So you can see which articles are being edited and where they are being edited from.
Now trending on social networks
Microsoft unveiled its next generation Xbox One entertainment console on Tuesday and it’s been trending heavily on social networks ever since. It’s due to hit the stores at the end of 2013 and countless gamers are now desperate to get their hands on one. Web users are also wondering how it will fare against the latest console about to be released in shops by Microsoft’s main competitor, Sony and which giant will take the lead in this latest round of the console wars.
Video of the day
Prominent Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is taking a break from painting and photography and has turned his attention to music. He has uploaded this video clip for his debut track, entitled “Dumbass” which openly denounces the way he was treated in prison when he was jailed for 81 days back in 2011. It will be very difficult for web users in China to view the clip however; it portrays the Chinese authorities in a very poor light, and was censored shortly after being posted online on Wednesday.