Feeds

Hong Kong, not China keeping Syria online

PCCW carries lion's share of traffic to war-torn land

Top three mobile application threats

Hong Kong telecoms giant PCCW (sometimes known as Pacific Century CyberWorks) is all-but-single-handedly keeping Syria online as US sanctions and probable infrastructure issues hit the war-torn country.

The number of significant internet outages in Syria over the past six weeks or so has been increasing, with sole domestic provider Syria Telecommunications Establishment (STE) briefly withdrawing all 61 of its networks from the global routing table last Saturday, according to internet tracking firm Renysys.

Doug Madory, a research engineer with the firm, explained that the number of telecoms operators providing service to Syria has also taken a sudden hit.

“Until a few days ago, the incumbent in neighbouring Turkey, Turk Telecom, was a major provider to STE and thus to all of Syria … Turk Telecom disappeared briefly on August 3rd and then permanently on August 12th,” he wrote.

“Meanwhile, Telecom Italia's portion of Syrian transit has dropped significantly, suggesting that they could be next to leave the country.”

With these two out of the picture, it is Hong Kong’s PCCW which has been left “carrying the lion's share of Internet traffic into Syria through their Mediterranean assets”, Madory claimed.

Sanctions prevent US telecoms players from getting involved, although Madory couldn’t reveal whether the likes of Telecom Italia and Turk Telecom are following suit or have been taken offline by infrastructure damage.

Some news sources have been quick to jump on the apparent irony of China – a nation which famously regulates and censors content delivered to its citizens – now being responsible for the free flow of information throughout Syria.

However, it must be remembered that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, operating with a high degree of autonomy from the mainland under the “one country, two systems” plan set out by former Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping.

In effect, this means Hong Kong is free of internet censorship, largely autonomous in political and economic matters and affords human rights protections and press freedoms those in mainland China can only dream of.

The Reg contacted PCCW from comment on the news but was still waiting at the time of writing.

In any case, it remains a difficult quandary for telecoms operators to face when dealing with repressive states such as Syria.

Cutting the country’s internet supply would no doubt disrupt rebel fighters just as much if not more than it would loyalist forces - in fact, Gaddafi and Mubarak both tried this tactic in their own desperate attempts to cling on to power. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.