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November 29, 2012

Syria Shuts Down the Internet

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor


Some 77 Syrian networks experienced an outage starting at 10:26 UTC on November 29, 2012. This represents 92 percent of the routed networks in the country.

Fully 100 percent of the networks in this event reached the Internet through the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment.


Image via Shutterstock

That is a primary example of why many oppose International Telecommunications Union efforts to allow national authorities to control the Internet.

Opposition includes legitimate concern that national authorities will do exactly what Syria has done: censor speech.

ITU executives deny the charges, but Syria’s example shows what could happen. The official U.S. government position is in opposition to the proposed ITU changes. New Zealand also is on record as opposing the changes.

The immediate threat to the Internet, some argue, is the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) scheduled for December 2012 in Dubai by the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations body better known for activities regarding telecommunications.


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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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