Streaming services disrupted in Venezuela as Guaidó, National Assembly members give press conference on Zambrano detention

Network data shows that Venezuela’s state-run internet provider ABA CANTV (AS8048) is restricting access to YouTube, Google services, Twitter’s Periscope and Bing as of 16:52 UTC (12:52 VET) on 9 May 2019, as Juan Guaidó and politicians field a press conference at Altamira on the detention of National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano last night.

Early this morning, YouTube and Google services were disrupted in Venezuela after the armed ambush by the Venezuelan Intelligence Service SEBIN which targeted Zambrano. The network disruption lasted three hours and coincided with further reported crackdowns, and with statements published by foreign governments condemning the detention.

NetBlocks internet measurements show Twitter’s video streaming service Periscope has also subsequently been restricted in the same manner:

Findings are based on a set of 300 network measurements collected from 30 vantage points across Venezuela. Each NetBlocks web probe measurement consists of latency round trip, outage type and autonomous system identity, in addition to a larger global control data set, providing a real-time view of service availability and performance in a given country. The restricted services remain accessible via VPN (Virtual Private Network) services that can be used to circumvent internet censorship.

Update: Affected services have been restored from 5:58 p.m. UTC (1:58 p.m. VET) seventeen minutes after the end of the press conference:

Internet filtering in Venezuela has become increasingly pronounced in recent days, with a series of major disruptions during and after the uprising of April 30 2019.

NetBlocks studies in recent days have produced technical evidence of targeted censorship targeting political activist Leopoldo Lopez and a meeting of oil industry workers.

The outage marks the continuation of ongoing ephemeral, or intermittent internet censorship imposed by the state appearing to target critical speech. Data are consistent with previous targeted disruptions during public appearances by Juan Guaidó, and during sessions of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Venezuela saw a remission in ephemeral network filtering during the nationwide power outages through March. News media and campaign website filters remained in place throughout that period and intermittent censorship resumed even as much of the country remained offline due to chronic power grid failures.

Past incidents of network filtering in Venezuela have lasted from twelve minutes to over twenty hours, when YouTube was restricted hours before the country’s first nationwide power outage. Network data indicates that the platform disruptions are consistent with methods used to block online content in Venezuela.

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.

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