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Syria's Internet goes dark for several hours

After a more than seven-hour blackout, it appears the Internet has returned to Syria.

On Thursday morning several Internet monitoring firms began reporting a halt of online traffic in and out of the war-torn country. While it was clear something was amiss, it was unclear who or what was causing the outage.

In the past, divergent players such as the online hacking collective Anonymous or the Syrian Electronic Army -- a President Bashar Assad loyalist group -- have waged attacks on the country's Internet. However, Thursday's outage appears to have two different sources.

First, a group calling itself … Read more

In Syria, a detained Internet activist remains in limbo

The Arab Spring has all but disappeared from daily news headlines, but the uncertainty lingers concerning the fate of a missing computer engineer who was detained by the Syrian government two years ago.

On March 15, 2012, Syrian authorities detained Bassel Khartabil, a free-software activist who had used cell phone videos to document the first massive protests breaking out against the Assad regime, and who shared the videos with international news outlets. He has not been released.

Now as the anniversary of his disappearance nears, Fosfor, a digital publisher, has released "Bassel: Behind the Screens of the Syrian Revolution,&… Read more

Justice Dept. probes alleged sales of Dell computers to Syria

The US Justice Department is investigating alleged sales of Dell computers to Syria, the company revealed Monday in a regulatory filing.

The probe follows a New York Times report in May that Dell computer equipment had been sold to the Syrian government through a Dubai-based distributor despite US trade sanctions that prohibit export of such technology to the regime. A Dell spokesman told the Times that it was investigating a tip from an anonymous source about a possible shipment to the country.

Dell said Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has been cooperating with … Read more

Kenneth Cole outsleazes himself on Twitter with Syria 'joke'

Of course he knows what he's doing.

It's worked before and here it will work again. At least in Kenneth Cole's definition of the word "work."

On Thursday, Cole posted an eminently judged tweet that reads: "'Boots on the ground' or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear."

He'd like you to get angry. He'd like you to foam at the mouth and spit in his direction. Perhaps a metaphorical boot in the groin wouldn't go amiss.

This is PR. Which is an acronym for Please Ridicule.… Read more

John McCain laughs off iPhone poker during Senate hearing

There's a vast relief when we discover that politicians are just like us.

Yes, they're greedy, lazy, manipulative, and egotistical. We can understand these things. In their position, we'd be the same.

Perhaps we'd never imagined, though, that they'd also play games on their iPhones during important business meetings.

All hail, then, to Sen. John McCain who today was caught by the Washington Post playing poker on his iPhone during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Syria.

One imagines he's heard it all before. One important person presents evidence that seems incontrovertible. Another … Read more

Syrian activists' Facebook pages said to be shuttered

Just as Syria recovers from last week's countrywide Internet outage, a number of government opposition groups are reportedly saying that their Facebook pages have been shuttered, according to Al Arabiya.

One of the pages that is no longer available is the profile page of the former brigadier general of the Syrian Republican Guard, Manaf Tlass, who defected from the government last year. According to Al Arabiya, his page was visited by tens of thousands of Syrians to discuss the country's civil war.

Tlass told Al Arabiya that he reached out to Facebook to get his page back online … Read more

Syria regains Internet access after latest outage

Syria's Internet connection is up and running again.

Content delivery network Akamai revealed the Internet's return to life in the country, tweeting that traffic over its network to Syria started to flow again at about 15:30 UTC (8:30 a.m. PT). An image tweeted by Akamai showed Syrian traffic climbing up to within reach of its normal level.

Internet monitoring firm Renesys said routes to Syrian networks were restored at 15:26 UTC, which means the latest outage lasted 8 hours and 25 minutes.

A tweet earlier Wednesday from the state-run Syrian news agency said workers … Read more

Syria hit by yet another Internet outage

Update: Syrian Internet access has been restored as of about 8:30 a.m. PT. Full story here.

Syria has again been cut off from the rest of the online world.

Internet access for the battle-torn country has been down since Wednesday, 7:01 UTC (12:01 a.m. PDT), according to an update from Internet monitoring firm Renesys. A tweet from Renesys says that BGP (border gateway patrol) is down, inbound traceroutes are failing, and DNS severs and government Web sites are down.

A tweet from the state-run Syrian news agency says that workers are trying to fix the problemRead more

Syria back online after latest Internet outage

Syria is back online after an Internet outage cut it off from the rest of the online world on Tuesday.

Internet monitoring company Renesys updated its latest blog post on Wednesday, saying that "Syrian Internet has returned." The outage itself lasted 19.5 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday.

A new graph tweeted by content delivery network Akamai shows a huge spike in traffic to Syria, indicating that the Internet is flowing once again.

Syria Digital Reports earlier confirmed the news by tweeting that it received reports that Internet connectivity was returning.

This latest outage marks the third time … Read more

Syria: All communications reportedly down

Google tweeted Tuesday that all its services are inaccessible in Syria, where a bloody civil war is ongoing and Israeli airstrikes were conducted over the weekend.

Google reports that Internet traffic from the beleaguered Middle Eastern nation suddenly stopped at about 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time.

Other traffic-monitoring services confirmed the outage. Renesys also tweeted:

Renesys confirms loss of Syrian Internet connectivity 18:43 UTC. BGP routes down, inbound traces failing.

This isn't the first time the country has fallen off the digital map in recent months. A similar outage last November lasted for two days.

Almost immediately, … Read more