Bahrain, Tunisia Filtering Individual Twitter Pages


Over the past few weeks, reports have trickled in to Herdict and via Twitter, alerting us of the filtering of individual Twitter pages in Tunisia and Bahrain (as well as, possibly, China). In Tunisia, the accounts of exiled activist Sami Ben Gharbia (@ifikra), engineer @Ma7moud, and popular independent news source Nawaat (@nawaat) have been confirmed inaccessible, while in Bahrain @FreeBahrain was allegedly blocked on New Year's Day, but has since become accessible.

Twitter is no stranger to being blocked: Both China and Iran have blocked the social networking/microblogging site in the past, and Saudi Arabia reportedly blocked two individual Twitter users' pages in mid-2009. What is particularly interesting is that the governments of Tunisia and Bahrain have now demonstrated capability to block individual Twitter pages, thus silencing certain voices while still keeping a major communication platform open. Only time will tell if this is to become a trend globally.

I wouldn't call that

I wouldn't call that "silencing" these voices. If only individual Twitter pages are censored, the core functionality stays intact even for those people, doesn't it? It's probably harder to follow these accounts, but that seems a minor issue to me.
Blocking individual sources is pretty futile in a networked environment like Twitter. If there's important news, it gets through.

Agreed, Simon, that it's

Agreed, Simon, that it's relatively futile, however, in the case of Nawaat (for example), which is one of the best indy news sources in Tunisia, lots of non-tech-savvy people may not know how to get around the block in order to follow their feed.

I agree that it's not the worst case, by any means, of silencing happening there, but it still matters.

Sami Ben Gharbia

Sami Ben Gharbia, whose twitter username is @ifikra, the exiled Tunisian activist has had his page blocked in Tunisia, so has engineer, @Ma7moud and @nawaat, the twitter page for Nawaat, the popular indepoendent news source. Bahrain also reportedly blocked @FreeBahrain on New Year’s Day.

This points to the lengths and sophistication that is now accompanying online repression. Authorities are now prepared to employ the most sophisticated methods to ensure independent voices are not heard.

I agree

Interesting, I didn't realize this was happening with Twitter. I do agree that although it's not one of the most egregious cases of silencing it is still significant and noteworthy. It's important to spread awareness about the issue of silencing in general, with specific examples, even when they're not the most impressive examples. Thanks for writing this article! -Mark

I already agreed

I read the examples in previous some post but so far i concluded that it matters to some extent but cannot be stick to it in full stage.

Well, if the government or

Well, if the government or the law there has the right to do this then the people should agree or at least appeal. In Democratic countries this is really unfair. But I'm sure this will not take for long.

U.S. intelligence

U.S. intelligence agencies have recently shown a great deal of interest in Internet surveillance. One thrust of this is determining geolocation from IP number. Currently this is about 80 percent effective in fixing the IP number to a major city, and over 90 percent in fixing it to a country.

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