Syria shuts down the Internet

Syria shuts down the Internet

Summary: Here we go again. This time Syria has cuts its people off from the Internet.

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What is with Arab dictatorships and their thinking that cutting their people off from the Internet is a good idea? First, it was Egypt. Then, it was Bahrain, and finally Libya gave it a try How's that working out for you guys? Egypt's government was overthrown; Bahrain's ruling family is hanging on thanks to outside support and mercenaries; and Libya's in the middle of a bloody civil war. All-in-all, trying to cut the people's communications' life lines just angers the protesters even more and draws the world's disapproving attention.

The state-run Syria News site reported earlier today, June 3, 2011, that "The Syrian government has cut off Internet service (3G, DSL, Dial-up) all across the country (Arabic link), including government institutions." Later the same site reported that the Internet is available across parts of Syria [but that the] "Internet was 'broken' in Damascus, Syria's capital, and Aleppo, and the provinces."

This sounds to me like the officials are making up their story on the fly. This, in turn, suggests that Syria's dictatorship hadn't really thought out the ramifications of turning off the Internet.

As in the other Arab countries where the rulers tried the switching off the Internet gambit, Syria's Internet is controlled by the government. The Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE), which provides backbone services to other ISPs and DSL and dial-up services to businesses and individuals, is owned by the state. 3G and 3.5G wireless data services are available in larger cities from several providers. All of these, however, operate on the government's sufferance. In total, when the dictatorship allows it, about 17.7% of Syria's population has Internet access.

The immediate cause for Syria's move appears to have been the call for mass "children" protests over the murder of a 13-year old boy, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, in late April. In addition, Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad continues to assault restive towns with the army.

Regardless of tanks or the lack of the Internet though I strongly suspect that Syria's rebels are far from done and that al-Assad may yet find himself out of power.

Related Stories:

Libya turns off the Internet and the Massacres begin

Bahrain's death toll grows and its Internet slows

How the Internet went out in Egypt

Freedom Box: Freeing the Internet one Server at a time

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11 comments
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  • RE: Syria shuts down the Internet

    Interesting
    zdnet_l1
    • All of the countries mentioned are/were obviously in the state of emergency

      @zdnet_l1: or "force major". Since USA's authorities always want to have "Internet switch" in their hands, <b>what makes Steven caring for other countries</b>, when his own country, in case of big troubles, will go the same route?
      DDERSSS
      • Syria needs UN permission

        @denisrs
        to shut down the internet and keep its people in the dark about the democratic events.
        Linux Geek
      • Let see. The House and Congress have to agree to allow it

        @DeRSSS
        then probaly have to get a court order to do it.

        Let me check what Syria needs - nothing!

        They just do what they please.
        Will Pharaoh
      • RE: Syria shuts down the Internet

        @DeRSSS I have nothing but contempt for anyone in the U.S., or any other country, who tries to control the free flow of information over the Internet.

        Steven
        sjvn@...
  • RE: Syria shuts down the Internet

    That is great news. Finally someone is waking up to the fact that the Internet and computers are useless!!!!
    XX41
    • RE: Syria shuts down the Internet

      @XX41

      Here's all you get to eat from me: you're a troll.
      josh92
    • RE: Syria shuts down the Internet

      @XX41 Yet. . .you're here.
      lymelyte@...
  • They didn't shut it down intentionally

    somebody probally ran over the extention cord by mistake.
    Will Pharaoh
  • Free flow of information is a good thing

    The Syrian people can see what they did to the boy = stirs hatred. They can see Assad's is wanted for trial abroad = empowering.

    These dictatorships, they can't stand the sunlight shining on them.
    guihombre
  • RE: Syria shuts down the Internet

    too many countries falling due to internet
    jessiethe3rd