Syrians turn to satellites as the country's Internet connection remains down

The Internet blackout is more complete in Syria than it was during events in Egypt almost two years ago

Syrians are turning to satellites to communicate as the country's Internet connections are shut down, but instances of jamming are making even that challenging. Google is also letting people who can find a working phone publish voice messages on Twitter.

Internet connections between Syria and the rest of the world were blocked on Thursday, and remained down on Friday with websites hosted in the country still not accessible from outside.

The blackout is more complete than when other countries have been cut from the Internet, the content network delivery company CloudFlare said in a blog post.

Some telephone landlines are working, but most information is coming out of Syria using satellite connections for telephony and Internet access, according to Rami Abdurrahman, founder and director at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

However, the high cost of such connections limits the amount of information, including videos, that can be sent to and from Syria, he said.

Satellites were also one of the ways Egyptians managed to communicate when Internet connections were severed there.

But even communicating via satellites isn't without complications in Syria today.

"There have been quite a few instances of jamming in Syria; a game of cat and mouse with satellite operators," said a satellite industry worker with knowledge of the situation.

People that can find a working phone can use Google's Speak2Tweet to transmit a message via Twitter. The service posts links to audio recordings of the messages left, but does not convert them to text.

Google worked with Twitter to create the service a little less than two years ago, when Internet access was cut off in Egypt.

At the time of writing, 14 messages had been posted in the last 12 hours. The service had not previously been used since July. Of those 14 messages, six were of English speakers saying "This is a test," four were of dance music or other ambient noise, and four were of voices speaking languages other than English.

Human rights campaigning organization Amnesty International is extremely worried about the current situation in Syria, it said in a statement on Friday.

The shut-down of communications may herald the intention of Syrian authorities to shield the truth of what is happening in the country from the outside world, according to the organization.

"It is time to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity, not to commit them behind a wall of silence. Anyone committing such acts should know that they will be held accountable in the future," Amnesty said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetGoogletwittertelecommunicationtelephonyCarriersInternet service providersAmnesty International

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?