We’ve already talked here before about some countries’ maneuvers when it comes to cutting off access or spreading misinformation for illicit political ends. Social network censorship is unfortunately becoming an increasingly common practice, as seen in the situation in Iraq, where the government has decided to block access to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to prevent the insurgent group ISIS from publishing photos and videos of its advance through the country or proselytizing for new followers of its movement.
The militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) formed during the Iraq War of 2003 and is made up of several Sunni clans, among them al-Qaeda and other important insurgent clans. Recently, after many months of conflict, the jihadists took Mosul, the second most important city in the country, and have begun using social networks to spread images of their advance and to recruit young militants.
(Source: New York Times)
The Kuwaiti state news service has confirmed that the Iraqi Ministry of Communications demanded that the country’s main service providers block access to many of the most popular social networks in Iraq. According to the Washington Post, just a few hours after the block occurred last Friday, a significant decline in traffic had already occurred, although many users managed to get around the restrictions using servers in surrounding countries such as Turkey, Iran, and Jordan.
Wherever you are, you can use tools to hide your IP address so you can make people believe you’re connecting from a different country. Programs like Psiphon, ProXPN, or Hotspot Shield are some of the many that offer this option. Look no further than Psiphon, the most downloaded program on the Arabic version of Uptodown (here’s the list of tops).
Whether via a Private Virtual Network, an SSH tunnel, or an Anonymous Proxy, there are many ways to easily get around country restrictions, meaning that, as has happened during the protests in certain countries during the Arab Spring, digital unplugging will never derail the direction of regional sociopolitical change.