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Censorship Your Rights Online

Cracks Showing in the Libyan Firewall? 126

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-want-to-break-free dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most Libya Internet traffic has been blocked since the start of the uprisings on February 17. In what may be the first cracks in the Libya Internet firewall and a sign of the rapidly evolving political situation, Libya Internet traffic climbed over the weekend according to Arbor. Twitter updates also suggest the Internet is now working in eastern cities like Benghazi. Gaddafi may be losing control of his state telecom (Libya Telecom and Technology)?"
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Cracks Showing in the Libyan Firewall?

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  • Since quite some time a livestream from Benghazi is available. How is this possible if the internet was blocked?
    http://www.livestream.com/libya17feb [livestream.com]

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday February 28, 2011 @12:58PM (#35339070)

      There are two Libyas now.

      The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya - That's Gaddafi's Libya, its the government that use to run all of the geographical area we think of as Libya.
      The National Libyan Council - is revolutionary Libya based on Benghazi, it's been under rebel control for over a week now.

      • The "rebels" as they still seem to be called, are gaining more territory by the day. I'm envisioning a bunker scenario for Gaddafi. I doubt he'll let himself be taken alive.

        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          You see that they grabbed one of his bunkers? I'm not sure what we call the two factions informally, I use Gaddafi and New Libya when talking about it with my wife.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L1hWPGVcB0 [youtube.com]

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            You know she just married you for your low uid.
        • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday February 28, 2011 @02:33PM (#35340044)

          I doubt he'll let himself be taken alive.

          On the contrary, he has all the hallmarks of a coward and probably doesn't have the guts to shoot himself. I predict a Saddam Hussein style ending for him.

      • It seems to me that not only isn't Gaddafi in control, of either "his" country or his mind, but hasn't been for quite some time. I think it's really a case of my signature in Libya.

  • by rs1n (1867908) on Monday February 28, 2011 @12:17PM (#35338632)
    Sooner or later, governments will finally acknowledge that you simply cannot stop the dispersal of information. Even in countries such as China where there is heavy regulation of media, people still manage to find ways to communicate their ideas -- just not on a large scale as elsewhere in the world. What we are seeing is that the internet may be the key to a future in which governments will no longer be able to censor speech. To disconnect from the internet would be to engage in electronic economic suicide (I am sure that Egypt's e-commerce was considerably hurt by the outage), and to remain connected would mean that sooner or later, the gates to the control center of censorship will crumble from all the tiny cracks created from within.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Sooner or later, governments will finally acknowledge that you simply cannot stop the dispersal of information.

      Many of them have. They work by contaminating information and it lets them delay the people's realization long enough to hit them with the next distraction. Welcome to the new millenium.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        You hit the nail on the head. It isn't hard to get so much information out there, fake or not, that people just don't care. If people get so many factoids that they can't tell if it is another The Onion headline or actual news, they will stop caring.

        The only way this will be gotten around is to have anon news sources which vet any information they get, either by corroborating it with other stories, or by other means, then signing that the information is actually real.

        • by foobsr (693224)

          The only way this will be gotten around is to have anon news sources which vet any information they get, either by corroborating it with other stories, or by other means, then signing that the information is actually real.

          Here, in Germany, they have already foreseen this dangerous development and are having a test run on obfuscating reality in a way that makes it hard to realize real reality. In case you did not care, I am referring to the Guttenberg copy&paste case.

          CC.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      governments will finally acknowledge that you simply cannot stop the dispersal of information.

      Is that before or after Qaddafi deploys his Backhoe corps to plow across the country severing all the underground fiber lines while increasing power to his WiFi jammers?

  • by PPH (736903) on Monday February 28, 2011 @12:19PM (#35338642)
    ... you really can't get a good feel for Gaddafi's rants in 140 character chunks.
    • "Gaddafi's rants in 140 character chunks."

      What else do you expect from a strange person (still not necessarily a legal crackpot)? My guess he was so filled with self esteem he lost touch with the outside world, in a sense Salvador Dali did. I am not convinced either of these were "legal madmen", just bizarre. Unfortunately, Gadaffi still has some power left power but Dali never did.

    • by chill (34294)

      Can you imagine Hugo Chavez with his 5-10 hour speeches broken into 140 characters?

      Unlimited text messaging would soon become a human right in Venezuela!

      • Can you imagine Hugo Chavez with his 5-10 hour speeches broken into 140 characters?

        While I understand it's always fun to lambast Hugo Chávez, I'd like to point out he indeed has a Twitter account [twitter.com], and he even attracted more than one million followers. Not so shabby, eh?

    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      Especially in unicode!

  • “We are also supporting the development of new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship,” she said. “We are providing funds to groups around the world to make sure that those tools get to the people who need them in local languages, and with the training they need to access the internet safely. The United States has been assisting in these efforts for some time, with a focus on implementing these programs as ef

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 28, 2011 @02:11PM (#35339858) Journal

      The US government only cares about the right of the people to express dissent against foreign leaders they disapprove of. In fact, no more than a month after Hillary Clinton gave that speech, she gave another address condemning foreign governments for silencing dissent. During that speech, Army veteran and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern turned his back. For that silent, peaceful, non-disruptive act he was dragged from the room and assaulted [democracynow.org].

      This is the definition of hypocrisy. Hillary Clinton witnessed the scene happening directly in front of her and never said a word. These are the kind of people we have leading America today.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        I think you need to vet your news more carefully. That is a very one-sided account you presented us with, and the guy "assaulted" is a total nut-job, so the one-side is immediately suspect.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          The guy in question is actually a very reasonable person. He was a CIA analyst for 25 years and advisor to the first President Bush. He's not any more a nutjob than Hillary Clinton is.

          The entire thing was captured on video, and reported in many non-mainstream news sources. The mainstream media will of course not report on anything that conflicts with the narrative the government puts forth.

          If events did not transpire as described, you could find at least one report saying so. There is no evidence otherw

          • Ray McGovern is also the guy who stood up to Rumsfeld in 2006:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1FTmuhynaw [youtube.com]

            The internets have jaded me to the point that whenever I see someone written off as "a total nut-job" (as the GP did to McGovern) I almost automatically read it as "a principled person who I disagree with."

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              I almost automatically read it as "a principled person who I disagree with."

              He's a 911 "truther". [911truth.org] He may have been a good CIA analyst, but he's either playing up the nutjobs for money or he is one himself.

              At the very least, you should be skeptical when literally the only account you can find of an event in a room full of people comes from one man. I won't come right out and call him a liar, but nor will I condemn Clinton without hearing more... and believe me, I'm no fan of Clinton.

              • > He's a 911 "truther". [911truth.org] He may have been a good CIA analyst, but he's either playing up the nutjobs for money or he is one himself.

                I understand your skepticism, but to dismiss him as a "nutjob" because he holds to theories that you and I find incredible is a rather black-and-white approach to assessing the credibility of the story. Dan Ellsberg is on the list in the link you posted; does that give you serious doubts about the validity of the Pentagon Papers?

                > At the very least, you shou

                • by MightyYar (622222)

                  Dan Ellsberg is on the list in the link you posted; does that give you serious doubts about the validity of the Pentagon Papers?

                  It might if the Pentagon Papers weren't released in the 70s and authenticated :)

                  I'll tell you what I see in that video - I see a man actively resisting some cops and shouting things. His account of what happened before and after the video may or may not be true, but I have no way of knowing. Certainly they are not using disproportionate force in the video - you wish that they weren't wrestling with him, but then again he is wrestling too. The cops have every right to remove someone disruptive from a private

                  • > The cops have every right to remove someone disruptive from a private event like that.

                    Clinton was in the middle of a speech -- of a sentence! -- demanding that foreign governments allow their citizens the freedom of expression. If you don't see the hypocrisy in that, can you at least appreciate the irony? Did she mean expression should only be protected if it is not disruptive to anybody?

                    And in this case "disruptive" would have to be defined as standing silently (admittedly this is according to McGover

                    • by MightyYar (622222)

                      can you at least appreciate the irony?

                      Yes, of course... but he chose that moment to stand, and the setting was very different than a public square.

                      And in this case "disruptive" would have to be defined as standing silently (admittedly this is according to McGovern himself, though it is largely corroborated by the video as the mic had no problem picking up the noise once he started struggling with the police).

                      He said he stood up and faced the other way. Granted, he wasn't shouting (yet)... but it is still disruptive. I don't know if the cops asked him to leave before they dragged him out or not. They certainly should have. In any event, once he was being dragged his "silent" approach went out the window, as he was clearly resisting physically and yelling.

                      You find it suspicious that no one else at the event has publicly corroborated McGovern's story -- but it is also notable that no one else has contradicted it (including the camera).

                      I agree that is odd, and I don't really know what t

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            If events did not transpire as described, you could find at least one report saying so.

            That's quite the logical jump.

            Why hasn't a single media outlet, alternative or otherwise, talked to anyone else who was in the room with the man. It was a room full of people at a University! I'm not going to make any condemnations of Hillary Clinton based on a single story from a man with CIA training, an activist agenda, and a history of similar publicity stunts.

        • by LanMan04 (790429) on Monday February 28, 2011 @05:00PM (#35341252)

          The guy worked as an intelligence analyst under 7 different administrations (27 years) and was the guy who prepared/gave the daily intel briefing to the president for a lot of those years.

          That gives him at least a *little* base credibility. He's not some "Don't taze me bro" protester.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            That gives him at least a *little* base credibility

            Which he pisses away by being a "truther" and doing a tour of all the paranoid sites on the web.

            Besides, aren't the CIA known for some of the BAD things they do? Don't you think that a CIA guy might know how to work the media? Especially the crazy media, since I can't find any info on a reputable news site except Al Jazeera. And even they just have a blurb and not anything substantial.

            At the very least, you'd want an independent report from some witnesses. All that link shows is the story as told by one guy

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2011 @02:45PM (#35340130)

      That's why the US government is so supportive of Wikileaks.org, right?

  • "I want that firewall fire-bombed! Bomb that Internet and twitter back into the stone age, son! I love the smell of napalm in the morning . . . "

    Although this sounds outrageous, this is probably what a bunch of them have their general staff working on . . .

  • Okay, maybe this'll get me flamed to death for my ignorance: but .ly is the TLD for Libya, right? But bit.ly has been working fine throughout all the trouble, right? So what kind of paltry firewall has Gadaffi been using?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      root servers not in ly
    • *Sigh* No flames, but if I may say so, a bit of investigation wouldn't have hurt, either. Two command lines (dig -t ns ly. and whois `dig +noall +answer bit.ly | cut -f7`) would have told you two things:

      • The .ly ccTLD has got secondary nameservers outside Lybia, courtesy of RIPE, UUNet and the University of Oregon
      • bit.ly uses a Lybian domain but is hosted in the US (by NTT)

      As far as the "Lybian firewall" is concerned, it appears to exist, in a very crude form (they drop their BGP sessions, which cuts them of

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        *Sigh* No flames, but if I may say so, a bit of investigation wouldn't have hurt, either.

        I read the GP as deliberately appearing misinformed, and making a separate point : that ".ly" domains nominally belong to Lybia, but by being outside their physical domain, are practically out of the control of the Lybian government. The varying reports of partial/ intermittent access to some networks in some regions of Lybia simply make the same point better.

        I suspect that increasing numbers of countries are going to

  • I would be worrying about my precious bodily fluids, not the internet.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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