Syria disrupts text messaging of protesters with made-in-Dublin equipment

February 14, 2012

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Categories: Old News

Source: Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver, Bloomberg

As unrest in Syria erupted into public demonstrations and a bloody crackdown that has claimed over 6,000 lives in the last year, the regime of Bashar al-Assad sought to neutralize one of the most potent tools in the protesters’ arsenal: text messages sent via mobile phones.

The Syrian government has ordered blocks on text messages when they contain politically sensitive terms such as “revolution” or “demonstration,” according to two people familiar with the filtering systems. A unit of the Syrian intelligence apparatus, known as “Branch 225,” often issues the instructions on which messages to block, they say.

Syriatel Mobile Telecom SA, the country’s largest mobile- phone operator, conducts the blocking with equipment from Cellusys Ltd., a privately-held company based in Dublin, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the filtering.

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