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Bandwidth Being Throttled In Bahrain? 69

Posted by timothy
from the oh-just-a-coincidence dept.
mahiskali writes "In light of recent uprising and protests in Bahrain, reports are coming in showing slower than usual internet access across the country. Broadband providers are claiming this is due to high-usage and heavy load, but Twitter is abuzz claiming a government-imposed lockdown. Accounts on the popular media-sharing site Bambuser have reportedly been blocked as well."
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Bandwidth Being Throttled In Bahrain?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about that internet kill switch?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now that Egypt did it first (supposedly) other governments realize they can do it too. Protests are already pissed off and protesting so what does adding net blockage matter? I can only hope some countries adopt legislative measures against such civil rights violations. To anyone who wants to say net access isn't a right, go bugger off back to the hole you came from. And I don't mean people deserve free net access, just that their access can not be impeded.

    • by mykos (1627575)

      And I don't mean people deserve free net access, just that their access can not be impeded.

      Hmm...I hope that happens, but I fear the wording get the same shellacking that the second amendment got. Maybe if they made it infinitely clear; perhaps we should write all future amendments in three sentences that say the same thing in different ways, so it can't be twisted very easily.

  • by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday February 18, 2011 @12:14AM (#35240776) Homepage
    To those who say that the Internet is only used by a very small percent of people and that individuals "on the ground" don't care about it and that it doesn't bring real change, tell me why censoring the Internet is the FIRST step taken by authoritarian governments when protests arise?
    • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:14AM (#35241036)

      Absolutely agree. Only a very small percent of people speak out on Facebook/Twitter/etc., but many times that number read what that small percent are saying. The internet is the ultimate soapbox. Anyone who thinks that the proverbial soapbox is unimportant because only a few people stand up on it is missing the point entirely.

    • Because the bastards in charge spend a lot of their time on the internet as well? And, as members of the ruling class, their horizons are so small as to not be aware of anything outside their own little group?

      There's just this idiotic, pervasive belief that "applying twitter" to any problem fixes it. Changing your web page's background to green in solidarity with the people actually accomplishes something meaningful. Go ahead and laugh, there are serious, highly educated people who have faith in this tec

    • by wile_e8 (958263)

      tell me why censoring the Internet is the FIRST step taken by authoritarian governments when protests arise?

      To try and prevent images and videos unsympathetic to the authoritarian government from spreading around the world (unsuccesfully in this case [crowdvoice.org])

      • by gorzek (647352)

        Yup. It's all about stopping the flow of information. Pretty difficult to organize and coordinate if you can't communicate in real-time.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Yup. It's all about stopping the flow of information. Pretty difficult to organize and coordinate if you can't communicate in real-time.

          The French,and Russians managed OK in their revolutions without fucking twitter or facebook.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, the government first deployed police and military forces against the protesters.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why? because it is the EASIEST thing to do. it can be done with a phonecall or two. And its one of the most effective steps. Cutting off easy communications.

      Most other steps involved in putting down protests require someone to get off their ass.

      My steps would be cutting the net, cell service, phone service. All real easy to do. None require me to get off my ass or go get some general to mobilize troops and start shooting people.

      captcha:brutally man. that thing is right so often.

    • First of all, it is not the "FIRST" step. It is the first step that gets published in /., period.

      And also, if you have got yourself a little informed, you'll find that they are protesting for things happening since a long time.

      My point here is that internet is not creating the environment. What internet brings is information that people finally are doing something about that, and that information encorages the people who already are pissed to join. In short, people do not protest thanks to internet but prot

    • "tell me why censoring the Internet is the FIRST step taken by authoritarian governments when protests arise?"

      That is because when protests start the government is already censoring TV, radio and every big printed media available. And, of course, that isn't in disagreement with what you said, I just wanted to answer the question...

  • It's only a matter of time before police get fed up and violence starts. Either that or the protestors themselves get violent.
    • Peaceful? People have already died. The New York Times was running an article about how the military has taken to the streets to keep order.
    • As above, liveleak had a fairly graphic video showing some guy that took a head shot for the cause (whatever that is)

      I'm guessing the F1 will be canceled too.

  • by Nikker (749551)
    Did every country just get this hardware installed or did everyone just start protesting or did I just find out about world events?

    Seems like every other story is a new country blacking out the entire public sector.
    • by dakameleon (1126377) on Friday February 18, 2011 @12:44AM (#35240926)

      Everyone just started protesting. One guy in Tunisia immolated himself in reaction to overly harsh police treatment, triggered protests there. With their success, Egyptians thought to give it a short, succeeded very visibly. And so the dominoes continue to fall.

      • Color me unimpressed. Does that make me not senitive to Bahrain's citizens?

        Show me Saudi Arabia's "royalty" giving way to its citizens, and I'll be damned inpressed. And we'd be sure to see other nations protest.

        Bahrain? It's a playground, nothing more.

      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:34AM (#35241288) Homepage

        Courage, self confidence, and willing to sacrifice is all that's needed for a revolution to start. But I'm also reminded that while taking down a government is hard, creating a better one in its place is even harder. Egypt isn't out of the woods yet as they're severely wounded with a vacuum of power left in the wake.

        • by j_l_cgull (129101)

          Courage, self confidence, and willing to sacrifice is all that's needed for a revolution to start.

          What is needed for a revolution is a significant portion of the populace to feel that they have nothing to loose. That has been the case throughout history. Seemingly autocratic regimes are tolerated as long as the percentage of population that feels this way is substantially smaller than those who feel altering status quo would cause them to loose something they have (aka middle-class in modern terminolog

        • Egypt has no power vacuum; it is clear that the army took over. The trouble is that Mubarak has been succeeded by the generals who have worked for him for lots of years, and people wants to keep pressure to avoid having to deal with the same guy with a different face.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          It also helps if 2/3 of your population is under 30 and you have a 24% unemployment rate (disproportionately effecting the young).

          But sure, courage and all that.

        • Courage, self confidence, and willing to sacrifice is all that's needed for a revolution to start. But I'm also reminded that while taking down a government is hard, creating a better one in its place is even harder. Egypt isn't out of the woods yet as they're severely wounded with a vacuum of power left in the wake.

          There's no vacuum of power. Mubarak's military is in charge. (he being the former head of the airforce) And it's not at all clear they're not gonna fix the September elections they took upon themselves to organize.

      • by xded (1046894)

        It's unbelievable it always has to get to [wikipedia.org] that [wikipedia.org] point [wikipedia.org], for people's minds to be awaken.

        Shouldn't this be different in the internet era?

        Oh, right, lolcats.

        • Well, I think if you look at that list you'll see it's not a necessary precursor to revolution, nor is it an indicator that revolution will occur. After all, there were 8 in the US alone which resulted in no impact to politics. I think more importantly though it is an indicator that things have gotten so bad that people will contemplate self-harm as a method of political protest.

    • It's not hardware. The killswitch consists of someone in the government calling every major ISP and politely hinting that they really should pull out all those cables and turn off the routers, otherwise the secret police would be more than happy to kick the doors down and do it for them.
  • Do these tweeting birds also have hats made of tin foil? I know revolution is popular over there right now, but does that mean that anything that happens now points toward it?
  • by Kozz (7764)

    Accounts on the popular media-sharing site Bambuser have reportedly been blocked as well.

    Either I don't spend enough time on the web, or that word "popular" doesn't mean what you think it means.

  • Didn't Neil Sedaka prophecize this?

    "Oh, I feel capped here in Bahrain ..."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @12:27AM (#35240864)

    According to this graph from Arbor Networks, http://www.monkey.org/~labovit/bahrain.png the peaks are lower and the valleys are higher. It's fairly clear that there's more interest in using the internet, but something is throttling the bandwidth.

    • If there is throttling here it is not nationwide, neither is it covering all ISPs. VIVA for example currently averages around 15kbps on a 21mbps package. I heard that the main ISP (Batelco) also had some slowdowns related to upgrades and changes in their network. Yet my Menatelecom connection is working exactly as it was before the demonstrations. Someone I know reported that while he had slowdowns during net surfing his download speed when torrenting was still fast.
  • Alternatives (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ender_Wiggin (180793) on Friday February 18, 2011 @05:03AM (#35241710)

    Well if Bambuser is being blocked (and I suspect its a mix of more slashdotting and blocking), there is also Qik [qik.com] and Ustream [ustream.tv]

  • by Max_W (812974) on Friday February 18, 2011 @05:34AM (#35241794)

    I modern times the Internet access became the part of of freedom of speech, information and, even, movement.

  • Last I heard, the bandwidth problems had a lot more to do with an undersea cable fault that they've had for some time, now.

    It's not throttling, just hellish routing, by all accounts.
  • My dad spent a lot of his time, way back when, building radar stations in Canada, to protect the USA from attacks from the USSR. Now it seems to be that governments' defense against attacks, internal or external, means blocking the Internet.

  • They just need to reboot their router.
  • ISPs have been throttling bandwidth for US customers for years, cry me a river.
  • This is getting more ridiculous everyday passes by Bahrain can't shut people up by disconnecting them from the internet and at the same time kill some try put out the fire from here, and spill gazoline over there
  • If a government wanted me out of the streets, they'd keep the internet ON.

    Take away my online gaming, email, chat, facebook, online shopping, and all my regular sites and I don't care what the protest is about - I'll march out and join it.

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