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Entries in Internet (12)


Syria Feature: How the Assad Regime Shut Down the Internet (Gallagher)

Arbpr Networks graphic of Syria's cutoff from the Internet on Thursday

Just after noon Damascus time on Thursday, the government-owned Syrian Telecommunications Establishment essentially deleted the whole country from the Internet's routing tables, blocking all inbound and outbound network traffic. Rather than the result of terrorist attacks, as the government claimed on state television, the blackout was a well-rehearsed and deliberate act intended to deny connection to Syria's citizens and the opposition forces currently trying to topple the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

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Iran Opinion: Sanctions Support Regime's "Internet Repression" (Tehran Bureau)

See also EA Video Analysis: Iran Sanctions, Human Rights, and the Nuclear Issue

The choking off of access to essential online technology is punishing a people already subject to relentless oppression by an increasingly totalitarian system. It also signifies the larger problem of the overzealous application of supposedly "smart" sanctions that extends them far beyond their intended targets and dumbs down their effects in flagrantly counterproductive ways.

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Iran Audio Feature: "Tehran's Clean Internet" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

On Friday I spoke with Monocle 24's The Briefing on latest developments in the Islamic Republic's effort for a "national Internet". The regime has reportedly achieved the first stage of linking up government agencies and some businesses in a self-contained system. Will it go farther and seal off Iranians from outside sites, search engines, and e-mail systems?

To listen to the discussion, go to The Briefing's homepage, open the programme for 21/9, and start at the 47:30 mark.


Jordan Feature: The Government's Threat to Internet Freedom (Tarawneh)

Successive governments have consistently accused Jordanian news sites of practicing irresponsible journalism, publishing slanderous articles, and partaking in character assassinations as well as blackmail. However, for the average Jordanian Internet user, such sites represent a vital resource of fairly unfiltered, local breaking news, as well as a platform for discussion, which may help explain the antagonistic relationship between the state and the budding, unregulated sector.

Yet, what would push Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh's government (which has recently passed its 100-day mark and faces upcoming parliamentary elections) to initiate such a controversial legislative move now?

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The Real Net Effect: Social Media and the Changing Middle East (Murphy)

Dedicated users of social media are a small vanguard in the Arab world, where access to the Internet and digital literacy levels are still low. But the number of people flocking to social media in the region is rising rapidly. This trend accelerated in the first quarter of this year, most notably in countries where protests occurred, according to the ASMR.

Facebook is the most popular social networking tool in Arab countries, with 27,711,503 users as of April 2011. That is almost double the 14,791,972 on Facebook in April 2010, the ASMR found. In the first four months of 2011, Facebook users in the Arab world grew by 30 percent, with Egypt accounting for most newcomers in this time period (2 million). Egypt’s 6.5 million Facebook users comprise about a quarter of all users in the region.

As for Twitter, the ASMR estimates there are about 6.5 million users in the Arab world, of whom 1.5 million are frequent tweeters. The countries with the most users and tweets are United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia, tweets went up 400 percent in one year (the average increase in the same time period in the rest of the world was 90 per cent).

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Syria Special: Syria’s Sons of No One (Shadid)

Abdullah (left) and Ahmed in a safe house in Homs, Syria.Abdullah, a 26-year-old computer engineer and pious Muslim, is a wanted man. He joined the first protest in Homs in March, and since then he has emerged as one of the dozen or so leaders of the youth resistance. His savvy with technology has made him a target for the police, and this was the fifth place he had slept in in less than a week. He hadn’t been to his family’s home in two months. Around his neck he wore a tiny toy penguin that was actually a thumb drive, which he treated like a talisman, occasionally squeezing it to make sure it was still there. I sat next to him on the mattress and watched as he traded messages with other activists on Skype, then updated a Facebook page that serves as an underground newspaper, then marked a Google Earth map of Homs with the spots of the latest unrest. “If there’s no Internet,” Abdullah said, “there’s no life.”

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The Real Net Effect: An Interview with Sami Ben Gharbia about New Media, Tunisia, and the Arab Spring

During the revolution we noticed that there were limitations on the Facebook platform. We know Facebook, we know the tools –-- it’s not about the tools, it’s about the context in which the tools are being used, it’s about the strategy, implementation and approach to the using the tools.

That consciousness of the tools is really important in understanding the impact that the Internet had on the Tunisian revolution --- Facebook is a closed platform --- it has been used hugely by the Tunisian activists that were on the ground, take pictures and videos and posting that on Facebook. That was great.

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Protest and the Web: The US Government's Initiative for "Internet in a Suitcase" (New York Times and Al Jazeera English)

The New York Times and Al Jazeera English promote the efforts of the US Goverment and non-government organisations such as the New America Foundation to bypass restrictions on the Internet in other countries:

NEW YORK TIMES: The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

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Bin Laden Follow-Up: Osama, Obama, and the LOLs of History

How does a nation still looking for justice almost ten years after the worst terrorist attack in its history react when the attack's mastermind is captured? With solemnity, celebration, and the sharing of funny pics.

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Tunisia and the Real Net Effect: A First-Hand Account of Why Social Media Matters (Kosina and "S")

"Without the Internet there would be no flow of information, neither within the country nor to the outside world. Without the Internet it would have been possible for the massacre to happen in silence for us and for the outside world. President Ben Ali had censored all the media and especially the Internet (everything except for Al-Jazeera TV)."

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