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Report: iPhone banned in Syria

According to a report by the German Press Association (via Haaretz), Syrian authorities have banned the use or importation of the iPhone into Syria in an attempt to crack down on protesters in that country. International media has been banned from Syria for months, so virtually all we know about the protests currently happening there comes from footage uploaded to the Internet, usually via protesters' cell phone footage of events.

The BBC reports that other smartphones have yet to fall under the blanket ban, which seems curious at first; however, it's not so curious when it turns out there's actually an iPhone app dedicated to the protest movement. The iPhone's UI also makes it incredibly easy to upload video footage to YouTube, which the current Syrian regime also wants to suppress as it opposes -- often violently -- the protests against the government in Syria.

The UN reports that more than 4000 people have been killed in Syria since protests began in mid-March. Like many other flashpoints in the Arab Spring movement of 2011, protesters have been heavily using iPhones, BlackBerrys, and other smartphones to communicate and co-ordinate their activities. Additionally, with camera quality in many smartphones approaching the level of low- to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras, and with many smartphones supplying simple methods of uploading those videos online, documenting government responses to protests has been easier than ever before.

The Syrian government's ban on the iPhone is unlikely to measurably impact protesters' activities, as they will either start using iPhones more clandestinely or simply switch to an unbanned smartphone platform. Additionally, protest movements like the one currently taking place in Syria got along just fine before the iPhone came along, so if Syrian authorities are hoping that banning the iPhone will stop the protests, they are sure to be mistaken.

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