Users can donate to American Red Cross to help European migrant crisis
[Updated with further details on Apple Company Store] Apple has set up a donation page in iTunes -- with a link to it from the main page of its website -- to help customers who wish to donate money to the American Red Cross to help ease the migrant crisis that is sweeping across the Mediterranean and Europe. The crisis, fueled by the Syrian civil war and other upheavals in the region, has put a strain on the resources of the host countries, and displaced nearly half a million people.
Google transparency report among first to report disconnection
Following yesterday's unexpected disappearance of Syria from the Internet, service to the war-torn country seems to be completely restored with no feared large-scale attack by the Syrian government against the rebels. Both the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency and Google's real-time reporting have demonstrated that traffic is increasing in the country.
Unknown party posts anti-Obama, pro-al Assad tweets
Newswire Agence France-Presse had the Twitter account for its photo department hacked today, according to a statement. The account, @AFPphoto, has been suspended by Twitter until the matter is resolved. While it was compromised, the hacker(s) posted tweets attacking US President Barack Obama and promoting the Syrian government, for instance calling the Syrian civil war a "fake revolution" because of foreign intervention.
Smuggled equipment used to bypass phone lines, cell networks
It has been revealed that Syrian rebels have resorted to using Skype to communicate with each other during the recent country-wide Internet outage. The messaging and voice-calling service was used alongside stockpiled equipment and a satellite connection so as to communicate with others around the country as well as overseas, despite government efforts to stop this from happening.
Voicemail-based Twitter access re-opens amid mass disconnection
As Syria enters its second day of being cut off from the Internet, Google has reintroduced its voice-based Twitter update service, in an effort to allow Syrian users to contact the rest of the world. In collaboration with the microblogging service, Speak2Tweet lets users make a phone call to an international number, with the resulting voice recording posted on a dedicated Twitter feed.
Internet, telecommunications disrupted as fighting escalates
Syria is cut off from the Internet, according to an access monitoring firm, in what is being seen as a bid for censorship by the local government. All 84 of Syria's IP address blocks are currently unreachable, "effectively removing the country from the Internet," and appears to be linked to the current battle between the country's armed forces and Syrian rebels.
Cellphone video regularly used to expose violence
The Syrian government has imposed a ban on iPhone use in the country, according to Customs Department documents reportedly obtained by local activists. "The authorities warn anyone against using the iphone in Syria," the statement reads. The move is believed to be a small additional step by the regime of Bashar al-Assad to prevent news of violence against protesters being made public. Footage from cellphones has often been one of the only means by which the outside world has learned of the crackdowns, since most foreign journalists are currently banned. Over 4,000 people have been murdered in the country since March.
FSA attack grabs initial headlines
The resistance to Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria has deployed an iOS app as one of its tools, says the The Daily Beast. The new app, Souria Wa Bas (roughly "Syria and That's All"), gathers news on Syria from an opposition perspective, since al-Assad's government is accused of putting out false information. Users have access to text, videos, a map of opposition hotspots and even a joke collection. Thanks are given to resistance groups such as the country's Local Coordination Committees.
Government attempts to subdue further protests
Nearly all Internet services in Syria have been disconnected amid local unrest that has continued to escalate over the recent months. The move is viewed as a last-ditch effort by the government to interfere with protestors' organizational efforts, as the number of participants in current gatherings is estimated to exceed 50,000 frustrated citizens.