Renesys confirmed this morning that as of 05:30 GMT Feb 19 2011 the Internet has been partially restored to the Libyan people after a globally condemned Internet blackout similar to that of Egypt almost three weeks ago.
First reported by the LA Times late last night all Internet connections to and from Libya were severed last night Feb 18 2011 at 23:30 GMT according to Renesys but lasted for only 6 hours after which the Internet has been reportedly restored to the country.
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This action confirms doubts that Internet shutdowns would become a weapon regimes would actively utilize to thwart popular uprisings in the Middle East and possibly beyond, repeating the strategy Egypt adopted only 3 weeks ago amidst protests which eventually led to the overthrow of the 30 year old Egyptian regime.
And although the Internet has been restored to the rioting country, networks such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are still reportedly blocked by the Libyan regime to prevent footage or live reporting from surfacing online during an uprising that has cost at least 84 lives till the time of writing this post as reported by Al Jazeera according to Human Rights Watch.
Libyan authorities have also began blocking Arabic news channel Al Jazeera which has been closely following and reporting the February 17 uprising in Libya.
The real question is whether Libya restored the Internet due to global political pressure, or that what we witnessed was simply a test drive to see how effective the kill switch really is. We expect to see this happening again, very very soon.
Internet has reportedly been cut off once again in Libya. According to Massachusetts-based Arbor Networks Internet traffic in and out of the country came to an abrupt halt again on Saturday Feb 19 22:00 GMT.
We’ll keep you updated.