American web hosting firms have been shutting down official Syrian websites after a human rights organization warned them they were in breach of U.S. sanctions on the country. Citizen Lab, a research laboratory in Toronto, identified three sites belonging to the Syrian authorities being hosted by firms in Texas, Florida, and Denver. According to a researcher at Citizen Lab, there are also official government sites hosted by British and Canadian firms.
Yesterday, the Assad regime pulled the plug on the country’s Internet, leaving just 8% of networks accessible to the Syrian people. It’s a mark of how nervous the regime has become (and, perhaps, a portent of which side will eventually win) that it is actively seeking to keep rebel propaganda and bad news off the information grid. The U.S. State Department, however, has been offering rebels advice on how to circumnavigate the shutdown, as well as giving them mobile communication equipment. And Google this morning reminded the world that its Speak2Tweet voicemail service was available for people without Internet access.