National Internet Shutdown In Sudan

sudan flag internetInternet Shutdown News From Sudan

Here in the Western world, we often take certain things for granted. For instance, can you imagine waking up one morning, pouring your first cup of coffee and heading over to the computer to check your email only to find that the Internet doesn't work at all? What's worse, later on you discover that everyone all over the United States is having the same problem. An entire country without the Internet?

That's precisely the problem Sudan was having yesterday with their Internet service. Renesys Corp., Internet monitoring and research firm, broke the news via their website, posting a link to information on Twitter, saying they hadn't seen a blackout of this magnitude since Egypt did the same in January 2011. BGPMon, also an Internet monitoring company, reported the same finding.

Why?

A recent decision by the Sudanese government to discontinue oil subsidies caused the public to launch violent protests and riots after fuel costs started to climb.

Numerous cars were set on fire; the ruling party's headquarters was set ablaze; and protesters threw rocks at authorities. Police turned to tear gas to try to bring an end to the situation, which Reuters says is the largest protest in over a year against the current government.

According to Arabic news outlet Al Arabiya, after discovering the riots in Sudan had killed at least seven people, the Sudanese government pulled the plug on the Internet. Not only that, schools located in the capital were closed effective immediately, and won't reopen until the end of the month.

Today

According to Renesys Corp.'s Twitter feed, Internet in Sudan was restored after almost an entire day of going without. Although Al Arabiya had reported the government was to blame, there has been no real confirmation of that. However, it's hard to believe technical problems could cause an entire country to lose access.

Renesys had gathered data on one of Sudan's ISPs, Sudatel, back in June that showed another blackout. Although it didn't affect the entire country like this blackout did, the government is suspected as the reason. At that time, there were protests going on in Sudan, so it seems this is the way the government responds (although it cannot be confirmed.)

Further Investigation

Renesys looked into the data they had gathered on this recent blackout, discovering that each ISP (there are three in all) went offline at different times instead of all at once. If there had been a technical problem, all three would have shut down at the exact same time.

And it does make sense: if there are government protests going on, the government would want to cut off any way for dissidents to communicate with each other, or post images from the chaos for the world to see.

What do you believe? Do you think this was a calculated move by the government to end riots, or do you think the riots themselves actually led to the blackout? Tell us what you think!

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