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Syria Drops Off the Internet As Turmoil Spikes 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the syrias-problem dept.
CWmike writes "In what appears to be the latest bid by a government to throttle access to news and information amid growing civil unrest, the Syrian government Friday shut down all Internet services. Internet monitoring firm Renesys reported that starting around 7 a.m. EDT today, close to two-thirds of all Syrian networks were suddenly unreachable from the global Internet. In just 30 minutes, routes to 40 of 59 Syrian networks were withdrawn from the global routing table, Reneys' chief technology officer James Cowie said in a blog post. The shutdown has affected all of SyriaTel's 3G mobile data networks as well as several of the country's ISPs, such as Sawa, INET and Runnet. Also down are the Damascus city government page and the customs web site. The only networks that appear to be somewhat reachable are a handful of government-owned networks such as one belonging to Syria's Oil Ministry, Cowie noted. 'We don't know yet how the outage was coordinated, or what specific regions or cities may be affected more than others,' Cowie wrote. 'If Egypt and Libya are any guide, one might conclude that events on the street in Syria are reaching a tipping point.'"
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Syria Drops Off the Internet As Turmoil Spikes

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  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Friday June 03, 2011 @04:34PM (#36333438)

    It's already bloody. Several thousand dead at this point. It looked like the Regime was winning until the pictures of the dead kids, in particular the one with the mutilated genitals hit the internet and basically fanned some new fire into the resistance. My guess is the regime is trying to prevent their own people from accessing the imagery of the kids, though it's likely that everyones already seen it or has copies. They made a serious error in judgement on the effect mutilating a child would have. My guess is they thought it would inspire fear, they were very very wrong.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday June 03, 2011 @04:43PM (#36333488)

    I get so sick of hearing people say that the internet can't be censored (usually with some "The internet is *designed* to route around any censorship" crap). If a government wants to stop you from posting pics of you beating kids on the old internets, they don't have to develop some elaborate firewall that you and your hacker buddies can figure out how to bypass. All they have to do is show up at the handful of ISP's in the country with rifles and tell them to cut you off. No connection to your house, no internet for you.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 03, 2011 @05:23PM (#36333746)

    They made a serious error in judgement on the effect mutilating a child would have. My guess is they thought it would inspire fear, they were very very wrong.

    Psychology is a funny thing. That kind of terror repression scares people into submitting right up to the point it scares them into rebelling. I think it works on a base, emotional level that defies any kind of rational consideration. It's like when the reporter is talking to someone who just did something crazy to save someone else, they'll say "I don't know why I did it, I wasn't thinking at all. I just saw and did and was through it before my mind caught up."

    The Libya thing surprises me. I thought we saw the collapse of Qdaffy coming and it just stopped in mid-collapse. It's like watching a failed demolition where the building defiantly stops collapsing halfway through.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGE92upfQM [youtube.com]

    I bet a lot of the high-level people who defected thought they were safely jumping on the bandwagon and now it's months later and where's this revolution we've been hearing about?

  • by Smauler (915644) on Friday June 03, 2011 @06:16PM (#36334034)

    I'm personally very wary about individual cases inciting revolt.

    Firstly, the revolutionaries in Libya have already committed acts of questionable legality and morality. Individual cases there have been worrying.
    Secondly, individual incidents can often be blamed upon rogue individuals.
    Thirdly, though I do not claim this has happened here, it is possible to stage individual events. Propaganda is massively effective.

    However, the biggest problem I have with individual events that hit the news is that there are thousands that don't, that we are ignoring. Torture, violence, unjustified incarceration and repression are systematic in plenty of countries that we call our allies. Until recently we were happy to accept all these things with Syria (as one of a number of examples). It's only now that Syria is in crisis that we condemn their actions.

  • by grcumb (781340) on Friday June 03, 2011 @08:25PM (#36334730) Homepage Journal

    I get so sick of hearing people say that the internet can't be censored (usually with some "The internet is *designed* to route around any censorship" crap).

    The Internet is designed to route around censorship. It's the physical networks [imagicity.com] that have choke points.

    And no. this is not a distinction without a difference. As long as there are multiple routes to a destination, TCP/IP manages very well indeed, and allows the opportunity for all kinds of hard-to-track activity. But the vast majority of physical networks are built in the traditional telco format: Small pipes aggregating to big ones that pass through a single gateway, which is typically where the telco installs its toll booth and the government its censor. This topology is really the opposite of an end-to-end network, which is typically how we define the Internet.

    The Internet is useful for two important things during an insurrection: To win the sympathy of the outside world, and to coordinate action. Ad hoc mesh networks would address the latter moderately well [imagicity.com][*] (in urban areas) and smuggling high density media would work for the former. There is hope for the Internet yet, but it's not going to be realised as long as we leave it in the hands of telcos and governments.

    --------------
    [*] Of course, I'm not talking about typical North American consumer Internet. I'm talking about having any ability to communicate at all in the face of overwhelming censorship..

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen

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