Internet War

  Phrixos 09:11 02 Mar 11

I've long wondered about this, but the present goings-on in Libya have brought my question to a head. Just how does someone like Gaddafi "shut down the internet" in an entire country?

Is it as simple as locking a few doors?

  Quickbeam 09:16 02 Mar 11
  Quickbeam 09:16 02 Mar 11

Well, you asked!

  interzone55 09:30 02 Mar 11

It's easy, if the government controls the telecoms companies they simply ask them nicely to turn off the routers, this will effectively block the net on fixed landlines, although dial-up access will still be possible by dialling an international access number.

Stopping mobile internet access is a bit more tricky in areas close to borders with other countries, but anywhere more than 5 miles into the country will have very limited access.

Blocking satellite internet access is next to impossible to do reliably...

  Phrixos 09:40 02 Mar 11

Hey, Quickbeam. That's really very funny. I felt like I was on the island in the Lost TV series, terrified of letting the clock run down to zero. (Needless to say, I didn't click the button!)

Alan 14: So, I take it that the (fixed) routers are all known and concentrated in a few locations. There's no such thing as someone running a fixed router in a secret location?

As for mobile and satellite internet access, it would seem that such is non-existent or near-so in Libya. I guess the secret is that if you want to overthrow a dictator you first have to get your hands on some satellite technology.


  carver 09:43 02 Mar 11

Nice one.

  interzone55 11:55 02 Mar 11

The main connections to the internet are in universities and the main telecoms data centres.

In the UK almost all traffic goes through Telehouse in London, but there's a couple of other centres for backup.

The reason I mentioned the telecoms companies is that most people connect to the internet via their phone line, so turn off the ISP connections in the phone exchanges and that's most of the problem gone.

As with most revolutions, the people who control the communications tend to take control, so the radio & TV stations will be the first target.

  interzone55 11:58 02 Mar 11

btw a charity called Telecoms Sans Frontieres have deployed emergency cell phone towers along Libya's borders to establish communications for refugees...

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