Syrian Internet slows during Friday protests once again

Last Friday, activists from Syria reported an Internet slowdown amid continued protests. The following chart from the Google Transparency Report confirms that Internet connectivity was spotty and irregular on Friday, though it was not a full-fledged outage:

According to a Renesys blogpost on Syrian web traffic, “while traffic levels were reduced (perhaps throttled or rate-limited, as in Iran), the routes themselves remained intact.” They also posted the following chart, which shows the company’s traceroutes into “the 60-odd networks”that comprise the ”the Syrian Internet.” (For more information on the specific technology Renesys uses to measure Internet connectivicty, go to their post directly.)

The major dip in the graph above occurred during the near total blackout of Friday. Although Internet traffic in and out of Syria experienced a noticeable lull on Friday, June 3, it bears little resemblance to the massive outage of the previous week. Nevertheless, The outage garnered enough attention to incite UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to issue a statement demanding the Syrian government, “restore internet services to citizens” and “cease attacks against media.” In her press release, Director-General Bokova “call[s] on the Syrian authorities to immediately restore internet and cell phone services for citizens, to lift restrictions on the media and to prevent acts of aggression against journalists, so that they can report freely on events as is their duty.”

As the slow down doesn’t appear to have taken sites completely offline, Herdict did not receive reports from Syria and few on .sy sites on Friday, June 10. However, Internet users in Syria certainly felt the impact, with many tweeting reports about the speed of dial-up, 3G, and other networks around the country on Twitter.

Neither Renesys nor Google has commented as to whether the past two Fridays represent a trend in Internet censorship in Syria; whether or not Internet access will be compromised in the weeks to come will remain to be seen.

 

About the Author: Jane Lief Abell

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