Bahrain's death toll grows and its Internet slows

Bahrain's death toll grows and its Internet slows

Summary: Arbor Networks speculates that Bahrain is censoring its Internet as the strife torn nation's death toll climbs.

TOPICS: Browser

Bahrain's dictatorship looked at what has happened in Tunis and Egypt and decided that bullets would serve its cause better than relenting to its people's call for ballots and reform. This morning, mercenaries of Bahrain, a small Persian Gulf country, overran a camp of sleeping protesters killing at least four of them. At the same time, it appears that Bahrain has started strangling the country's Internet connection to keep news from coming in or out of the country.

Sources at Arbor Networks, a network security company, told me that "Bahrain has significantly increased its filtering of Internet traffic in response to growing political unrest." While the Bahrain Internet has remained up, unlike Egypt's Internet, it's averaging a pronounced 10-20% reduction in traffic volumes.

The data for Arbor's analysis was collected by its ATLAS (Active Threat Level Analysis System) network. This system collects Internet traffic data from about 120 worldwide ISPs.

Others have noticed this decrease as well. As New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof, who is reporting from Bahrain, tweeted, "Why slow the Internet? The #Bahrain govt view seems to be that if it isn't uploaded on YouTube, it hasn't happened." Al Jazeera is also reporting that there are Internet slow-downs in-country and that some Web sites are being blocked.

Officially, Bahrain's main ISP Batelco is saying that it is working to restore services after Internet degradation. Why there was a slowdown? A spokesman for Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said that the Internet slow-down could be due to "heavy usage in the country."

Batelco is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Batelco Group. It, in turn, is a publicly traded stock company and its majority stock holder is the Bahrain government. Between this, and the fact that Bahrain's Internet traffic is actually significantly lower than usual, I think we can safely say that the government is censoring its Internet.

At the same time that Bahrain's royal dictatorship is clamping down on the Internet through its proxies, it's also barred, according to Kristof, the entry of any more journalists into the country. There is every reason to believe that the Bahrain government will continue its assault on its people as far away from the gaze of the Internet and reporters as it can mange.

Topic: Browser

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  • The real story here is the Mubarak wasn't quite

    the bloodthirsty dictator the press was making him out to be. There was nothing stopping him from unleashing his army either. After all, they were Mubarak loyal.
    • RE: Bahrain's death toll grows and its Internet slows

      Bloodthirsty or not, he was a dictator, and since when were dictators A-Ok?
      • Dictators are fine when...

        @Theseus - Dictators are fine when they're sponsored by the U.S. government. ;) j/k
  • RE: Bahrain's death toll grows and its Internet slows

    i think its terrible how they are planning to kill at least 90% of people and all are muslims dictators are wth the government just remember they are traitors2 islam and christianity they work together your voices go unheard they just dont care its what was predicted to happen there is nothing to stop it only the coming of mahdi will jehad truely establish no other country is going to intervine their is little we can do but pray for everyone inflicted in these wars they all died as true martyrs :) we have to find ways to come together for their to be a solution we just have to wait for the coming of christ for peace their is no peace until then :)