Internet Access in Syria Goes Down Amidst Protests

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Article
3 June 2011

Internet Access in Syria Goes Down Amidst Protests

Author: Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine

The civil unrest in Syria has resulted in a shutdown of most of the country's Internet services...Syrian Internet access is primarily controlled by the state-owned SyriaTel...[that] buy[s] most of their Internet transit from Turk Telekom and Deutsche Telekom, with some contribution from PCCW, Tata, and Telecom Italia...Notably, systems that are inactive include SyriaTel's 3G mobile data networks and smaller downstream [service providers] like Sawa, INET, and Runnet...The Syrian outage...comes the same day that the [UN] Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, released a report that noted an increase in governments restricting the flow of information online because of the Web's ability to mobilize protests..."[T]he Internet's unique ability to provide ample space for individual free expression can lead to the strengthening of other human rights, including political, economic and social rights," said Cynthia Wong, Director of Center for Democracy and Technology's Project on Global Internet Freedom. [Refers to Renesys, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube]

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Article
3 June 2011

Mourning a Boy, Crowds in Syria Defy Crackdown

Author: Liam Stack and Katherine Zoepf, New York Times

Syrians poured into the streets on Friday...despite the shutdown of much of Syria’s Internet network, which has been crucial to demonstrators’ ability to mobilize and a major source of information for those outside the country...The Internet shutdown severely disrupted the flow of the YouTube videos and Facebook and Twitter posts that have allowed protesters and others to keep track of demonstrations, since foreign news media are banned and state media are heavily controlled...Skype had become a major means of communication among activists, and its loss as a tool may be a blow to the protest movement...Forty of the country’s 59 Internet pathways were disabled, including Syria’s entire 3G mobile network, run by the country’s only telecom provider, Syriatel, which is owned by Rami Makhlouf, Mr. Assad’s cousin.

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