In what’s becoming a predictable move, Syria has shut down Internet access in an attempt to quash the organization of a national uprising, dubbed Children’s Friday and inspired in part by a now viral YouTube video of the body of a tortured and murdered 13-year-old boy.
As reported by Renesys, a business communications intelligence firm that also chronicled the Net shut-down in Egypt, Syria began to shut its Net access at 6:35 a.m. local time, with two thirds of all Syrian networks going offline inside just a half hour. Forty of the 59 national networks were affected, but certain key sites remain accessible–including the Oil Ministry and several other government resources. Syria seems to have taken lessons from other regional Net shutdowns, and is perhaps trying to keep key lines of communication open so it can present its own view of events to the outside world as well as preserving confidence in its key oil industry.
Turning the Net off in Syria would seem to be relatively easy–the nation relies largely on a single domestic provider called SyriaTel, which is state-owned. A direct order to the management would have sufficed to pull the relevant connections, severing national traffic easily. Interestingly, a new terrestrial fiber connection to Turkey, which would have seriously boosted Syria’s Net services, has been delayed by the national unrest.
The action will affect netizens inside Syria, and will severely limit how much news gets to the outside world quickly, which will mean events like the one that inspired Friday’s action might go unnoticed by the public at large.