Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Switching off the net

At times I wish I had my own switch to turn off the Internet...

But more seriously, last week's episode in Syria is interesting: was Syria off the Internet? How did it happen? Who caused it to happen? Why was that decision made, and why was it subsequently reversed?

Two interesting blogs have more details:

  • The Cloudflare blog focuses on the practical aspects of what happened and when:
    • How Syria Turned Off the Internet
      The following network providers typically provide connectivity from Syria to the rest of the Internet: PCCW and Turk Telekom as the primary providers with Telecom Italia and TATA for additional capacity. When the outage happened, the BGP routes to Syrian IP space were all simultaneously withdrawn from all of Syria's upstream providers. The effect of this is that networks were unable to route traffic to Syrian IP space, effectively cutting the country off the Internet.
    • Syrian Internet access reestablished starting 1432 UTC
      Traffic to the CloudFlare network from Syrian IP addresses appears to have returned to levels seen prior to the shutdown. Almost immediately after the first links were reestablished we saw traffic levels jump back up.
  • The Renesys blog takes a look at the broader implications for other regions of the world: Could It Happen In Your Country?
    In some countries, international access to data and telecommunications services is heavily regulated. There may be only one or two companies who hold official licenses to carry voice and Internet traffic to and from the outside world, and they are required by law to mediate access for everyone else.
    Renesys identify 61 countries where this situation is the most clearly-defined:
    If you have only 1 or 2 companies at your international frontier, we classify your country as being at severe risk of Internet disconnection. Those 61 countries include places like Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Libya, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, and Yemen.
    Of the 61 countries they identified, most are tiny island nations like Saint Pierre and Miquelon; in such cases both geography and country size mean that the presence of only 1 or 2 cross-border Internet gateways is little surprise, and (to me) does not necessarily correlate with any particular policy choices.

Meanwhile, since we're talking about duh Netz, I enjoyed this little rant from the Internet Governance Project's blog: Three Little ICANN Atrocities That Make the ITU Look Good By Comparison.

Fussing about the threat to the Internet posed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is reaching that state of critical mass where media outlets write about it mainly because other media outlets are writing about it. The tacit assumption behind much of this fussing is that the status quo, exemplified by ICANN and other “multi-stakeholder institutions,” is doing a wonderful job and we should strive to preserve them.

But the status quo is not so wonderful.

The world changes, but the basic issues remain:

"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

No comments:

Post a Comment