Libya internet access remains intermittent

Internet services to Libya are patchy after an outage over the weekend, according to a Google traffic report.The Google Transparency Report, which gauges traffic to services such as Google Search and Google News, shows periods of zero activity overnight on 19 and 20 February, in contrast to previous traffic patterns.

Internet services to Libya are patchy after an outage over the weekend, according to a Google traffic report.

The Google Transparency Report, which gauges traffic to services such as Google Search and Google News, shows periods of zero activity overnight on 19 and 20 February, in contrast to previous traffic patterns.

Libya is caught up in violence surrounding protests against the government of Muammar Gaddafi, with over 60 people killed in Tripoli on Monday alone, according to Al Jazeera.

The country went completely offline on Friday night, according to internet monitoring company Renesys. The company said that Libya may be mimicking Egypt, which instructed many ISPs to halt the flow of internet traffic during protests which eventually deposed president Hosni Mubarak. Protesters in Egypt were using internet tools such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate.

At 23:18 GMT on Friday, 13 globally routed Libyan network prefixes were withdrawn, said Renesys in its blog post.

"We wondered whether anyone would repeat Egypt's strategy," said Renesys. "Tonight, it appears that we have our answer."

At 6.01 GMT Saturday morning, two thirds of Libya came back onto the internet, said an update to the blog post, with the rest following nine minutes later. Comments on the Renesys post said that in some areas of Libya, including in the Benghazi region, there is no internet access.

Security company Arbor Networks noted that Bahrain, which has had protests against the incumbent government, also experienced reduced traffic flow between 14 and 16 February.

A wave of protests, beginning in Tunisia with the self-immolation of protester Mohamed Bouazizi in January, have spread over North Africa and the Middle East. Egypt, Bahrain and Libya have experienced reduced or non-existent traffic, with Egypt internet access restored last week, said Arbor Networks.

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