Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory show that connectivity is returning to parts of Iraq 28 hours after the country imposed a nationwide information blackout. As of 9:20 p.m. UTC, Thursday 3 October 2019 leading providers started to come back online, however access to social media, messaging apps remain highly restricted with some network providers.
Update: 17:00 UTC Monday 7 October 2019: As of hour 119 of the shutdown, internet access is largely restored for the third time. Social media and messaging remain largely blocked. It is unknown if the restoration will be sustain. See main article: Iraq blocks Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, then shuts down internet amid civil unrest:
Confirmed: Internet has partly returned to #Iraq again in hour 119 of the shutdown 📈
➡️ Real-time network data show connectivity back up to 80%
➡️ Social media remains blocked for most users
➡️ Developing incident: unclear if return will sustain ⚠️
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) October 7, 2019
Update: Connectivity for a period of two hours as of 00:00 a.m. UTC Sunday 6 October 2019. See main article: Iraq blocks Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, then shuts down internet amid civil unrest
Update: Connectivity has again been cut as of 10:00 p.m UTC, and remains off at the time of writing. The brief restoration came after as Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi prepared to televise a speech to the nation. However, by the time the PM’s delayed speech appeared on screen, internet access had already been shut down again following the emergence of new videos of clashes:
Update: #Iraq has cut internet access again from 22:00 UTC, one hour after connectivity was partially restored. The fluctuations come amid reports that Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi had been planning to televise a speech to the nation 📉
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) October 3, 2019
Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Transportation and Communications has announced that it officially rejected a call by the federal government to cut off the internet in the Kurdistan Region.
Following Thursday’s brief restoration, data show that leading provider Earthlink continues to block services while smaller ISPs such as AlJazeera Network have lifted the platform blocks. Approximately 40% of connections remained offline at the time of writing. Data also confirm that connectivity remains unaffected in autonomous Kurdish regions in the north of Iraq.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and other social and messaging apps including Signal and Telegram were blocked or degraded in Iraq by multiple internet providers from 12:30 UTC, Wednesday 2 October 2019 and the country subsequently cut off most internet access.
⏱ It has been 48 hours since #Iraq shut down internet access amid nationwide protests, representing:
➡️ Violation of UN resolution A/HRC/32/L.20
➡️ Imminent threat to public safety
➡️ Severe restriction to press freedom
➡️ Economic impact est. ~$200m
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) October 4, 2019
The first restrictions came on Wednesday just as hundreds have been reported wounded as police fire tear gas, bullets at protesters.
Technical measurements show that each of the services were intentionally restricted by leading Iraqi network operators including Earthlink, Asiacell and Zain and smaller providers in a manner consistent with known incidents of censorship in the country. Findings are based on a set of technical measurements from across the country assessing reachability and network performance.
⚠️ Urgent: Internet access has just been cut across much of #Iraq including #Baghdad following the earlier blocking of social media platforms; multiple providers affected; nationwide connectivity now falling below 70%; incident ongoing 📉— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) October 2, 2019
📰 https://t.co/7GF42YLDWU pic.twitter.com/7YkvGrJZPy
Breaking incident. Article will be updated as new data is processed.
Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe privacy-preserving analytics. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages generally have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.
NetBlocks is a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.