The Pirate Bay helps Iran Critics Dodge Censorship

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay said
Wednesday it has helped launch an Internet network in support of
Iranian election critics allowing users to dodge the regime's
censorship rules by surfing anonymously.

The Pirate Bay, whose operators were convicted in April of
helping others commit copyright violations, temporarily changed its
logo to "The Persian Bay" early Wednesday with a link to a
protest forum.

The Web site, iran.whyweprotest.net, says it allows "a secure
and reliable way of communication for Iranians and friends" and
also directs users to an anonymity system, which can be used to
hide their Internet locations.

"Even if a ballot is silenced, the voice behind it cannot be,"
the site said.

It was not clear how safe the site is for users and if total
anonymity can be achieved.

The Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde said his team helped set up
the system after the Iranian government began a clampdown on
Internet freedom in an effort to control images of the postelection
protests. On Tuesday, the government barred foreign reporters from
leaving their offices to report on the demonstrations. Some
journalists have been expelled.

The riots were sparked by claims of vote rigging after President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared winner in the Iranian elections
Friday with opposition supporters continuing daily marches in huge
numbers through the streets of Tehran.

Sunde said he does not know who runs the site but that The
Pirate Bay decided to help with promotion and technical solutions.

"Democracy is the supporting pillar of society ... This is
exactly what we think is so important about the Internet," Sunde
said.

Sunde said he had no exact figures but that there had been
"hundreds of thousands of hits on the site" and that it was
"growing enormously."


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