November 29, 2012 - The research firm Renesys, which keeps track of the status and health of the technical underpinnings of the Internet
around the world,Â just reportedthat at 10:26 UTC this morning â€” which, by my watch, would have been 5:26 am ET â€” effectively all of Syriaâ€™s international Internet
connectivity shut down.
More technically, what happened was that within the global routing table, all 84 blocks of IP addresses assigned to Syria
have gone unreachable. That means that Internet
traffic destined for that country is going undelivered, and also that traffic coming from within it cannot get out to the world.
is still investigating whatâ€™s going on, but, as weâ€™ve seen in other countries, cutting off the Internet
is usually meant to try and control the flow of information to the world. Itâ€™s also a pretty sure sign that the regime of Bashar al-Assad
is either getting nervous about how it is being perceived in the world, or that it is planning something unspeakably harsh in the coming days and wants as little information emerging from that country as possible.
People on Twitter are starting to notice. And hashtag #SyriaBlackout is showing up:
Canâ€™t call Syria. Scary blackout, as if things can get scarier still.Â #Syria.#SyriaBlackout
So Iâ€™m not the only one not getting through RT @BSyria: Canâ€™t call Syria. Scary blackout, as if things can get scarier still.Â #SyriaBlackout
TheÂ Associated PressÂ (via the Seattle Times) has a report citing Syrian activists saying that the government has cut off Internet
and wireless phone connections in and around several neighborhoods of the capital city of Damascus. There have been some clashes there between government forces and the rebels.
Reuters is reportingÂ that there has been some heavy fighting along a road leading to Damascus International Airport, southeast of the city. The road has been closed, and Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has suspended flights in and out of there for now.
TheÂ AP is now reportingÂ in a Beirut-datelined story (Via The Washington Post) that Akamai
has confirmed Renesysâ€™ findings describing a â€ścomplete outage.â€ťAkamai
Tweeted this about an hour ago:
Obviously this will be compared to previous actions by governments inÂ EgyptÂ andÂ LibyaÂ where popular uprisings, some more violent than others, toppled authoritarian regimes. In Egypt in particular, world
outrage ticked up significantly and people sought differentÂ alternative methodsÂ to help protesteters in Tarhir Square and elsewhere coordinate their efforts. Eventually the InternetÂ came back onÂ but it was only a small step in the right direction for that country.
Update:Â NowÂ Google has confirmedÂ what Renesys and Akamai