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Syria drops off the Internet

Akamai
Akamai

As of  12:26 p.m. in Damascus, Syria is no longer on the Internet, reports Renesys, an International research firm. 

"In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet," chief technology officer James Cowie wrote on the Renesys blog

Akamai Technologies, a Web content distributor, confirmed the outage, and the Associated Press reports that Syrian activists reached via satellite confirmed the unprecedented blackout." Mobile and land line telephone connections are reportedly intermittent.  

Internet access in Syria has been occasionally disrupted during the 20-month citizen insurgency against the country's existing government, led by President Bashar Assad. This, however, is this is the first complete shutdown. 

Cutting off this means of both local and International communication is now standard operation for governments facing civil unrest, as seen in Libya, Iran and Egypt. 

Egypt's startling disappearance from the Internet in January 2011, when Renesys "observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table." 

The Egyptian government cut off virtually all access to the Internet by switching off routers at individual ISPs, a process GigaOm's Stacey Higginbotham explains, is "made easier by the fact that their were few ISPs to contact."  

As Higginbotham points out, "it's unclear how Syria disconnected its citizens. Some news reports say insurgents are communicating still via satellite phones, but the lost of IP addresses means no IP services can find their way to end users within the country. When a packet destined for a Syrian IP address is sent, it simply can’t find out where it’s supposed to go."

Update 1 p.m. ET: According to a Twitter post from Syrian Hurriyat, an "independent political weekly newspaper dealing with the Syrian Revolution," Syria's Minister of Information has said that, " Terrorists have cut down the internet in the country, not the government."

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Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about privacy and then asks her to join her on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, Google+. Because that's how she rolls.