[NA-Discuss] Unrest continues to be met with Internet lockdown

Eric Brunner-Williams ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net
Wed Feb 16 16:44:26 UTC 2011


Again, I never hope to be more than a minority of one, and while I 
read MENA IT news on NANOG, MENOG, Aljazeera (commercially censored in 
most North American broadcast/cable media markets) and through S/N 
feeds from or about contacts in West Asia and North Africa, I find it 
useful to distinguish what technical means are being deployed to 
effect some explicit or implicit state policy goal.

I* know that targeted communications degradation was attempted first, 
affecting S/N data flows, and when either that failed, due to the 
scale of the S/N participating nodes (thousands of SMS and IPv4 
capable devices sourcing audio and video capture data) or the policy 
goal required degradation of more instances of communications than 
just S/N, prefix withdrawals were announced by all access and transit 
providers with the exception of the Noor Group, who's prefixes were 
withdrawn later.

The mechanism pursued by the Syrian state until last week, and the 
mechanism utilized by the Iranian state, during the last election, and 
recently, S/N blocking and rate throttling, and the mechanisms 
utilized by the Algerian state, the Bahrain state, the Lybian state, 
are distinct.

The utility of "keeping score by technical means" is that it allows an 
analysis of whether other technical mechanisms such as deep packet 
inspection and content analysis, routine in North America and present 
also in Europe, but requiring high capitalization of the intercept 
platform, are keeping pace with the repressive state's policy 
requirements and the liberation social movements and the political 
organizations means of maintaining internal and external communications.

I see no point in revisiting the recent limited statements of ICANN or 
ALAC, or their offered rationals, but I do see a point in attempting 
to know what access models actually exist, and having data sufficient 
to support predictive modeling of disruptive local policy on the 
regional and global internet.


* Some subscribers have attributed other mechanisms, or a lack of data 
sufficient to make any attribution.

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