Real Internet Censorship: Burma

It is often times hard to take serious the small slights of willful and petty companies like Comcast when much larger issues are presenting themselves in other countries. The Open Net Initiative has just released a report on the total suspension of Internet and cellular services in the country of Burma. [pdf] The military junta which rules the country cut off all access to the internet and cellular towers on September 29th. Internet connectivity was then brought back online but only during daylight hours around October 4th. This may seem an odd time but the country has around a one percent Internet penetration rate. This means that most citizens will get their connectivity from cyber cafes. With martial law in effect it is much easier to pinpoint and surveil antagonists uploading damaging information. Full service is thought to be restored but it is surely still heavily monitored and censored.

There was nothing fancy in the way that Burma shut down access. It simply shut down all inbound and outbound connections in the country. The technical team at ONI used AS (autonomous system) reporting to track peering announcements from the neighbors of the two ISPs.

Burma AS Peering graphic
source: Pulling the Plug report from the Open Net Initiative.

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