How To Get Around The Internet Blackout In Syria -- Or A Mass Communications Outage Anywhere

How To Get Around An Internet Blackout

The Internet went down across Syria on Thursday as clashes between rebels and government-backed forces intensified. According to reports out of the country, landline and mobile telephone service have also been disrupted.

But there may still be ways for people in Syria to get back online.

"Unless they can create an electronic signal jam for the whole country, plus cut all the wires to the whole country, there's a way to get the signal out," said the Tor Project's Jacob Applebaum, a security researcher who assisted activists in getting around Egypt's Internet blackout in early 2011. The Tor Project is an organization of developers committed to Internet privacy.

Applebaum said he has been in contact with Syrian freedom fighters. Believing the Syrian government to be behind the communications disruptions, Applebaum said that the country's IP blackout frightens him: "[T]his is their moment to commit as much of a genocide as possible." (Syrian rebels and the government have blamed each other for causing the outages.)

Nevertheless, Applebaum doesn't think the Syrian government can keep the country informationally airtight. The Internet outage has taken out most traditional in-country Internet connections, but Applebaum says that if he were on the ground, this is when he'd start looking for nontraditional ways to connect.

A number of the different possibilities are outlined in the gallery below:

Satellite Connections

How To Get Around An Internet Blackout

(Flickr photo by Newtown grafitti.)

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