Today, it was reported by Renesys that beginning at 3:35 UTC and in the course of an hour and a half, two-thirds of Syrian networks had become disconnected from the global Internet.
This latest Internet black out is an example of just-in-time blocking—a phenomenon in which access to content and information communication technologies are blocked in response to sensitive political situations when the technology and content may have the greatest potential impact. It is suspected that the severing of Syria’s Internet is in direct response to the intensification of revolts this week, sparked in part by the death and torture of 13 year old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, as well as in memory of at least 50 other children killed during the protests. This action follows other MENA states severing access in reaction to protest on ground with Egypt shutting down national connectivity on January 28, 2011 and access blockages in Libya and Bahrain in February. For further analysis, see today’s OpenNet Initiative blogpost.