Internet Disconnection Due to Syrian Protests

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In December 2010 Imad Sabouni, Syrian Minister of Telecommunications and Technology,  stated that Internet censorship was not a solution. He said that it was more important to raise the awareness of Internet users. But he also pointed out that there are Internet blocking systems in all countries.

Nevertheless, the censorship never abated. About more than two hundred websites were blocked. The contents affected involved political criticism, religious issues, etc. In addition to filtering a wide range of Web content, the Syrian government monitored  the use of Internet. The Syrian government claimed that its aim is to prevent "denominational unrest" and any attempt at infiltration on the part of Israel.

But it seems that it was useless. Opponents of the current Syrian regime organized protests all over the country. Facebook is the place where the protests were organized; the participants were also motivated by reels of the government crackdown placed on such sites as YouTube.

As a result, the authorities disconnected the Internet in some parts of the country in order to prevent the spreading of anti-government information and to boicot the creation of new movements. Google’s most recent Internet traffic report from Syria clearly demonstrates a falloff in data traffic.

Syrian government also blocked Internet access in regions of military operations before the protest in Hama, but after that disconnection has become more widespread. Two-thirds of all the networks in Syria were unavailable just after the protests.

Many users have to use alternate ways to access blocked websites and stay anonymous. VPN connections are the most popular. They provide web anonymity and give the opportunity to bypass government restrictions. Fast VPN services facilitate uploading of videos to the sharing sites, and favor the spread of information. But even VPN cannot help if the internet connection is dropped.


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