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Syria Bans iPhone, Protest App

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the state-vs-man dept.

Censorship 69

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that with 4,000 people killed in Syria since March, the government has banned the iPhone and threatened confiscation and prosecution for anyone found with an iPhone as the government tries to control information getting out of the country. Most international media have been banned from Syria since the uprising began, so footage of the violent crackdown has primarily come from activists filming material themselves and posting it on the internet. A mobile app for the iPhone called Souria Wa Bas (which roughly translates as 'Syria and That's All') covers the actions of opposition groups, including the Local Coordination Committees which claim to have members across the country and includes links for news, videos, and a map of opposition hot spots. The app's creators say they produced Souria Wa Bas to counter regime accounts of the opposition's activities. 'Under the fast-moving events in Syria and the deliberate attempts to distort the facts by some. We have compiled the most important Syrian news sources available,' say creators of the app at the Apple store."

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So... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256570)

..when do we send some freedom their way?

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256610)

"..when do we send some freedom their way?"

When they find some incredibly large oil deposits.

Re:So... (2)

madprof (4723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256800)

So cynical and yet so funny...

Re:So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256830)

And yet so true.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38263424)

I've really never, ever seen a phone with a camera, other than the iPhone. So ban the iPhone and no-one can take videos. They have to ban most phones, everything with a camera. Oh, and tablets. And video cameras. And cameras. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

Re:So... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257546)

Actually, Syria does have large oil deposits, and is an exporter of oil to Europe. [wikipedia.org] Granted, it doesn't seem that way when compared to giants like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Iran, et al, but that doesn't mean it's not there. Thanks to Syria's low population of 22 million, there's not much demand for that oil, so they can export it, just like other Arab countries.

Also, the reason there is no Western intervention in Syria like there was in Libya was that Russia & China have openly opposed it, and made it clear that they're not going to stand for it. Neither of them were happy about the way the Libyan civil war ended - with an enhanced influence for NATO, so they sent the signals early that they won't tolerate Western intervention here. As it is, Syria is currently a proxy battleground between Saudi Arabia, Turkey & Qatar on the rebel side, and Iran, Iraq & Hizbullah on the Assad regime's side.

In any case, sending freedom their way is a bad idea, as it has been in Egypt, Libya & Tunisia. It's not going to result in democratic pluralism, but just a way for Islamic parties to take over in an election, just like they have won in Egypt, Tunisia & Morocco, and become Islamic theocracies, almost like Iran, except that they'd be Sunnite instead of Shiite as in Iran or Lebanon.

lies, lies, and horse shit (4, Informative)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257750)

Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco have not 'become Islamic theocracies'. Egypt RIGHT NOW is having mass demonstrations where the MILITARY is beating the shit out of protestors and killing people. OUR ALLY IN THE WAR ON TERROR EGYPTIAN MILITARY.

besides, what the fuck do you think democracy is? its voting. if they want to vote in a bunch of theocratic illiterates, why shouldn't they be able to? thats what we in the US did in 2000 and 2004.

Re:lies, lies, and horse shit (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38258476)

The problem in Egypt is that the liberal forces that started and lead the peaceful revolution couldn't compete against the better organized theocratic opposition. While they were allies during the revolution, on victory it became a contest between the organized and the unorganized, and a lesson for anyone interested in politics [blogspot.com] . So yes Egyptians did vote in some theocrats, but in an election the theocrats worked to hasten to deny the liberals the time to organize.

Re:lies, lies, and horse shit (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38259090)

The MB isn't theocrats. They're the Egyptian equivalent of the Republican party. Elections have consequences, let's see how they do before we get nervous about the boogeyman.

Re:lies, lies, and horse shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38262362)

Back that up. I think you're full of shit.

Re:lies, lies, and horse shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38262464)

The MB isn't theocrats. They're the Egyptian equivalent of the Republican party.

So... they're theocrats.

Re:So... (3, Informative)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38259164)

The Justice and Development party is not pushing for a theocracy, they're less extreme than the Republican party in the US. Yes, they'd like their new democracies to reflect Islamic values, just as most Americans want the US to reflect Christian values. Heck, Tunisia's new electoral winners, the Ennahda party, won't even ban alcohol. You're falling for the FUD.

Re:So... (2)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256652)

It's not US business at all. Let other countries handle their own things and start handling your own problems.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256670)

If France had taken that attitude in 1776 Americans would be speaking English now.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256704)

you mean proper English

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256708)

inefficient english

and we wouldn't have had Vietnam (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257784)

If france had withdrawn from it's colonies, we wouldn't have had the French-Indochina war, the battle at Dien Ben Phu, and the Vietnam War.

there also would have been no Algerian-French war.

also there would have been no Napoleon, and his mass invasion of Russia.

there might have been no mass cadres of Communists from all over the world coming to France to study, and then spreading their bullshit over the earth like in Cambodia.

all in all, if France had taken care of it's own business in 1776 instead of trying to dominate the planet with colonialism, there would be tens of millions of people living out normal lives instead of dying in stupid wars.

then again, this demonstrates the utter stupidity of trying to say 'there would have been xyz' in history.

Re:and we wouldn't have had Vietnam (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38258958)

Yeah, cause certainly the minority suppressions, sexism and xenophobia of all of these native cultures is superior to that of France. You might want to take a look at the practices of these indigenous cultures before the Europeans got there, and after they left before you decide that they were worse off under French rule. Just off hand the Khmer Rouge comes to mind in Cambodia,
So basically the absence of French Colonialism doesn't equal the absence of war, it just means that no Europeans would have been killed in those wars. The indigenous were themselves quite capable of killing each other over domestic issues themselves, as we see happening in Egypt, Syria and Lybia.

Re:So... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257850)

They should have. Then we wouldn't have so many fucktard amerifags running around thinking they are the "shining city on the hill" or w/e the fuck these self-ingratiated morons think.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257636)

I fully agree with this. Let the Mohammedans figure out whether they want Syria to be Shiite or Sunnite, in the way they've always resolved things, and just stay out of it completely! Let allah sort them out.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256678)

No significant oil resources.

Re:So... (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256778)

When we discover a valuable mineral deposit we can't get from a less war-torn nation. Why don't we send some freedom to the FARC occupied territories of northern Columbia, ending the cocaine trade forever? Because it would cost $100 billion and 100,000 US Soldier lives.
 
Freedom is really damn expensive, as it turns out. Ask the British, WWII nearly bankrupted their country, and we still had to write off most of the debt we loaned them.
 
Freedom used to be a lot cheaper. You can grow a full replacement army of humans every 15-20 years, but Tanks, Jets, Bombers, Aircraft Carriers etc have to be purchased with Gold and Gold Equivalents. When they break you can't just send them to the hospital for a few weeks before going back to the front lines. Machines need a whole additional set of parts, logistics and mechanics that you have to pay for.

Re:So... (1, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256904)

Ask the British, WWII nearly bankrupted their country, and we still had to write off most of the debt we loaned them.

My, you guys are almost as good at history as you are at geography. http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Britain_makes_final_World_War_II_debt_payments [wikinews.org]

Re:So... (3, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257012)

We wrote off the $31 billion (half a trillion dollars in today's money) we loaned to you during WW2, then loaned you some more money.

To clarify:

What we wrote off: The $31 Billion freebie [wikipedia.org]
What you guys actually paid back:The $4.33 Billion Loan [wikipedia.org]

Re:So... (1)

Super_Z (756391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38259914)

We wrote off the $31 billion (half a trillion dollars in today's money) we loaned to you during WW2, then loaned you some more money.

This is not entirely correct. The "money written off" was actually supplies and war material from USA and Canada sent to Britain. Britain paid in kind by effectively handing over export rights to the commonwealth, reverse lend-lease transfers, giving away basing rights and let's not forget Roosevelts initial plan - carrying the battle against the Nazis so you wouldn't have to.

Re:So... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38261930)

Britan paid Canada back at the same time they paid the US back for their 50 year loan; their loan amount to Canada was much smaller (~$20 million a year). The US got some concessions but the $31 billion was aid much like we gave Israel, Iran or Iraq in the second half of the last century, we didn't expect to get it back, but we were able to twist your arm a little for some lunch money on a few things in return ;)

Re:So... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264318)

This Act became known as Lend-Lease, whereby America would give Britain cash totaling $31.4 billion which never had to be repaid.

You've referred twice to the writing off of loans. This was a grant, not a loan, therefore it's complete nonsense to refer to writing it off.

Re:So... (2)

puto (533470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257502)

First it is Colombia with Os. And last time I checked there were only about 8k Farc left running around in the mountains, so the Colombian government with its 300,000 police and soldiers, not to mention the Billions of dollars in gear that was given to it in plan Colombia.. Plus much of the cokes these days comes from Bolivia and Peru. Colombia could end cocaine very easily on its own shores, but there is too much money in it at all levels. As a Colombian American who lives between both countries Colombia is hardly war torn these days, still dangerous in some bits, but you can travel by land now, loads of foreign investment, and a bit brighter future.

so (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256592)

the regime is not all bad then.

Steve Jobs (5, Informative)

camcorder (759720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256608)

Ironically creator of iPhone had Syrian blood.

Re:Steve Jobs (-1, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256680)

All over him. Luckily it doesn't stain on a black turtleneck.

Re:Steve Jobs (1, Interesting)

JWW (79176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256914)

WTF?! I wish I had mod points so I could mod you -1 Tasteless

Re:Steve Jobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256954)

I have them point. Enjoy the -1 humorless moderation, fucker! MWUAHAHAHAHAH!

Re:Steve Jobs (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257024)

Doesn't strike me as tateless. Seems to fulfill the definition of irony.

Now if someone had posted a happy post-bloodshed pictures of Syrian children eating ice cream cones and claimed it was irony I would strongly object! Although Ernest A. Hamwi, an American of Syrian descent, invented the ice cream cone, ice cream cones have nothing to do with revolutions or protest (except for the gelato riots of 1908) - thus no irony.

However, to be fair, if I take the long view that mentioning Steve Jobs is going to become the next Godwin's law, then yeah, that was pretty crappy thing to say - especially so early in the thread.

Re:Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257050)

Get a grip, dude. And a sense of humor.

Re:Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257936)

lol just cause he's dead doesn't make him any less of a self-centered prick. The world is better off without him.

Re:Steve Jobs (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256912)

I think he had no blood at all.

Re:Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38260370)

Ironically creator of iPhone had Syrian blood.

Not ironic, and not accurate. He was of Syrian decent, but he had Jewish, not Syrian, blood.

Re:Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38260496)

also inaccurate: http://www.jewornotjew.com/profile.jsp?ID=745 [jewornotjew.com]

Re:Steve Jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38261428)

Ironically creator of iPhone had Syrian blood.

Not ironic, and not accurate. He was of Syrian decent, but he had Jewish, not Syrian, blood.

You, I take it, have nothing but racist blood?

Jobs vs Assad (5, Interesting)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256620)

Steve Jobs' biological father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, is a native of Syria. He recently expressed his support [dailymail.co.uk] for the pro-democracy protesters

logical (3, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256622)

This is logical conclusion of any government - complete take over all powers and destruction of all liberties. Not that there were huge number of liberties in Syria to begin with, but it's the same trend with all governments.

Re:logical (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38262974)

Out of curiosity, what logic leads to that conclusion?

Ban it! (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256644)

Yeah, 'cause, you know, the only way you can send information out of a country is through a country-specific, iphone-only app?

Re:Ban it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256692)

The great iphone using public are stupid. Id's be surprised if they found a work-around.

Maybe they would be better (0)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256648)

Maybe they would be better off banning guns instead
(No, the 2nd amendment doesn't apply in Syria)

Still not enough to boost Nokia sales! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256654)

Nice try Assad.

Smart move (0)

Blackman-Turkey (1115185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256658)

Excuse me, it is now called "Samsung presents Syria"

Let me make this easier for all of us (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256738)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Syria_Oil_Map.gif

There.

And now lets go and help those poor people there.

Why ban the phone? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256828)

Just force their telecom companies to turn off the service..

( ya, i know wifi exists too, but in practical terms it would squelch them )

Re:Why ban the phone? (2)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257830)

Worked so well for Egypt, right?

Re:Why ban the phone? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38260282)

i don't think Egypt actually killed phone service, but instead tried to block various types of access.

Killing the service does it all in one fell swoop, and its done at the carrier level so it would be impossible to get around it.

Re:Why ban the phone? (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38262498)

One of the countries that got tossed in Arab Spring shut down their access at the carrier level, I remember- I thought it was Egypt.

Forgetting other smart phones exist entirely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256888)

I expect in a couple months Blackberries will be banned. Trying to ban android, however, would be quite problematic, and could quite frankly topple the regime.

Oh no! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256952)

Don't give Obama any ideas!

Re:Oh no! (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257002)

Yeah, sure, try to ban something in the US that makes some big company a buttload of money. Just try.

Don't worry, your iPhones are safe. Apple sure is too big to fail.

Just a misspelling (1)

methano (519830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256984)

Maybe it's because Assad et al think that new talking app is a blatant ripoff and bad misspelling of "Syria".

Interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257006)

With the sanctions going on, it appears that the Syrians are so crazy that even the other towel-heads have noticed.

Curious (1)

xyzman24 (2524304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257042)

I wonder what they will do next. Are they going to do what japan did and attempt to close themselves off from the rest of the world?

And after the revolution? (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257326)

If non-moderates take over, how long until they ban the apps again?

A rummer ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38258868)

That's only a rummer !! Its a fake document which has been published to PR ! :D

Classic dictator overreach (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38259140)

Dissident makes iPhone app about pro-democracy news, Syrian dictator responds by banning all iPhones. Also because it has cameras that can be used to post videos to the site.

Did anyone else read that as "Siri bans iPhone"? (1)

Tuan121 (1715852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38259374)

I was quite confused for a moment.

Port the app (1)

GodGell (897123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38259384)

Cue Android port in 3...2...1...

The disadvantage of the iPhone (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38260290)

is that it is such an easy target for the government to take advantage of. If the iPhone and iPad keep gaining traction with the masses as they have, then it just becomes that much easier for the government to, say, implement an "internet kill switch". Variety is a good thing.

Wrong translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38261052)

FWIW, the translation of the name of the app "Souria Wa Bas" is not "Syria and That's All" but rather "Only Syria". There is a difference; the former is meaningless and the latter means that only Syria matters, and nothing (or no one) else. I Syrian BTW.

Syria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38262234)

So all of seventeen people in Syria can't download an app for their iPhone 1. Oh noes.

Corporate Freedom Fighters? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38262246)

given that big companies have so much influence over US (and indeed western) politics, i wonder how long until Apple brings this to the courts - perhaps the powers that be in Syria have links to other phone manufacturers?

i'd laugh if Apple sued Syria('s government) into nonexistence over banning the iPhone... money talks louder than protesters.

Wont somebody please think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38262602)

. . .and ban the Sybian!

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