back to article ISIS: Iraq KILLS the INTERNET: VPNs, social media and chat apps blocked by government

Iraq has widened its internet ban to include virtual private networks and mobile data in a bid to halt the progress of brutal offensives in the country led by the extremist militant group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis). Described as "fascist" and "criminal" by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, Isis …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damned if you do...

    Damned if you don't...

    Can't help but feel sorry for these people...

    1. Salts

      Re: Damned if you do...

      That's the easy answer, on the one hand it makes life more difficult for Isis, on the other hand it becomes even more difficult for people like my wife who rely on Viber and Skype to stay in touch and check the family is safe. But it is a disproportionate response IMHO, the small majority of Isis is amplified while the law abiding majority become muted. I know that it is horrible to have web sites featuring executions and it probably does attract the nutters to the 'cause' (what ever the F%&k that maybe) but it also outrages the vast majority of sane human beings. Knee jerk responses like this, again IMHO, cause more harm than good, I was going to go on with examples, but el reg readers tend to be able to take rational arguments and draw their own conclusions.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Damned if you do...

        > el reg readers tend to be able to take rational arguments and draw their own conclusions.

        That if you are about to launch a crackdown/counter-insurgency operation you don't want the rest of the world finding out any details except through your official news agency?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Damned if you do...

          That if you are about to launch a crackdown/counter-insurgency operation you don't want the rest of the world finding out any details except through your official news agency?

          absolutely, since that never backfires...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damned if you do...

      If ISIS does take over Iraq, it will not end there. Expect every border nation to Iraq to have incursions soon after they solidify power.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Damned if you do...

        At most ISIS can take over the Sunni areas in the north. Most of the fighters are not ISIS, but Sunni militias taking advantage of ISIS dispelling the army.

  2. Mike Smith
    FAIL

    Which planet are Facebook on?

    "Limiting access to internet services - essential for communication and commerce for millions of people - is a matter of concern for the global community."

    As opposed to trying to stop mass slaughter. But this viewpoint is perfectly understandable - after all, dead bodies can't see ads.

    Good to see Facebook have their priorities right.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Which planet are Facebook on?

      Really? It was said that during their more active times, Al Queda used the internet to communicate, and recruitment and propaganda web sites exist. Should the government have therefore attempted to close the internet in the UK?

      How about banning mobile phones too? Surely that's the next logical step.

      You know, cars and roads make it easier for criminals to escape...... Ban them too!

      1. Mike Smith

        Re: Which planet are Facebook on?

        "Should the government have therefore attempted to close the internet in the UK?"

        When did the armed uprising take place in the UK?

        Guess I must have been on holiday or summat to have missed that...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Which planet are Facebook on?

          >When did the armed uprising take place in the UK?

          Approx 1969-1998 and it was necessary to have reporting restrictions to prevent the oxygen of publicity

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Which planet are Facebook on?

          Ah, so armed uprising means it's OK to close the internet, like that's going to make any difference.

          Bloody hell, you've all been complaining about censorship, yet this is OK? NIMBY's?

          The internet is used by paedophiles so should we close that down?

          I feel you are all hypocrites who wouldn't stand for it here, but because it doesn't affect you, you've all turned into Matt Bryants.

      2. Psyx

        Re: Which planet are Facebook on?

        "How about banning mobile phones too? Surely that's the next logical step."

        There are plenty of nations where mobile phones have only been legalised relatively recently and private ownership of radio transmissions is banned.

        We buy oil from several of them.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    The internet ban is designed to stop Isis minions from communicating with each other and is also aimed at hobbling its propaganda machine.

    I suppose they will continue to run on the non-lethal aid we so helpfully provided via Syria.

    Interventionism 20:14: "Truly as like Rommel they will ride of the desert, wielding the out AKM the roman-named one provided them during the surge days. And the day will come where the nation of Shia Persia will again be the non-enemy of the country that begat the Balfour declaration and the Lord Blair will awaken, darkly, calling for intervention and bombing runs"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fixed

    "Limiting access to our advertisement services - essential for our profits - is a matter of concern for us."

    *runs away*

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think they'd be better off focusing on raising the moral of their troops so they don't break when attacked giving some time to reinforce and launching an organised counter offensive.

    1. Matt 4

      Though let me point out I'd have run, run like the wind as I am in IT and a consummate coward.

    2. Psyx

      I'm not sure you raise the moral of someone in such a short space of time.

      Morale might be doable, though...

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well i suppose they could always use gmail but that conversation view is sure to mess with their minds. i can imagine whole terror networks disappearing when someone accidentally deletes their last message only to find the entire conversation history went with it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why we need decentralised, wifi-based mesh networks.

    If only the technology would get off its arse and make itself easily deployable by the masses.

    It's frightening how easily a government can order the complete shutdown of the Internet in a country. A network that is so essential to so many people in their daily lives should not be so vulnerable.

    And, before someone says it, I don't mean accessing facebook or watching kitten videos.

    More and more, people are turning to the Internet as their main communication medium for news, person-to-person comms (a la Skype) and ditching their landline phones in their droves.

    IN the west we should be taking note and doing something about it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is why we need decentralised, wifi-based mesh networks.

      yep, and they'd never be able to block that...unless they could somehow track the base stations and shut them down...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > yep, and they'd never be able to block that...unless they could somehow track the base stations and shut them down...

        Given that there would be millions of them and multiply connected at each node, I think they'd find that rather difficult.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      " It's frightening how easily a government can order the complete shutdown of the Internet in a country. A network that is so essential to so many people in their daily lives should not be so vulnerable."

      I agree with you, but it seems the other commentards don't agree..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who is in the area, and who has friends in Mosul, maybe I can say something about the situation here.

    Maliki (who's a Shia), the current prime minister has been passing laws and doing things that discriminate against the Sunni population. There was a vice president who is Sunni and he has been forced out of the government. Maliki has been using the ISIS threat to try and have emergency powers, which basically gives him full control over the whole country.

    Mosul is a Sunni area, where the people have lost trust in Maliki completely. The exodus of people from Mosul to the Kurdish region has been because the population are scared of Maliki using helicopter gunships and F16s to bomb Mosul, just as he did in Fallujah (another Sunni area).

    The situation in Iraq is extremely complex and it is not all black and white. In the Kurdish area, the Internet is working as normal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      propaganda machine in swing

      To someone familiar with the region, the situation is indeed not as black and white as the media makes it out to be. Just reading the beeb, one can see the propaganda machine is in full swing and painting the whole of occupied/revolting areas as being fully controlled by ISIS. Surprising ISIS managed to recruit so many in the space of a few weeks. What is less highlighted is the fact that the rebels also consist of former Iraqi army officers (not ISIS) who were kicked out by the Maliki regime and probably are better at planning than some zealous young fighter. Now that US is in talks with Iran, one can guess they are only worried about protecting the oil fields in the north (most refineries are in the south), and beating up the ISIS drum provides enough justification to provide aid and start a proxy war. Better the devil you know than the ones you don't.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    nice to see the outbreak of world peace re Iran though.

    perhaps t bliar could have a word with the met and stop them apprehending the lads leaving heathrow to fight the Syrians?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    But how can the iraqis keep up home-front morale without Youtube?

    I don't know about you guys, but If I am going to fight violent extremists, I need my music and cat videos!

  11. Timmay
  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Allow everything

    Allow everything and provide a high capacity network link to the NSA. Let them do their real job and they can provide information, via the US Government, to Iraq.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Titanic Intelligence Fail ....... which is Unequivocally the Sole Responsibility of Governments/

    Unfit for Future Great Game Purpose Governance Office[r]s?

    The following, which was shared previously with EL Reg [Tue 10 Jun 07:36], says it all loud and clear, again.

    Thoughts for the 0dDay …….. It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion. …… [Joseph Goebbels] ….. and to mentor and monitor ITs phormation of programs and projects for Global Operating Devices for Remote Command and Virtual Control of Manipulative Systems be a Quantum Leap for Man and Giant Step for Mankind in CyberIntelAIgent Fields of SMARTR Exploitation and Alien Exploration in Systems of Operation.

    Described as "fascist" and "criminal" by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, Isis has been using social media to broadcast horrific images of mass executions and other barbaric war crimes. It now controls much of Iraq and is closing in on its capital, Baghdad.

    One man’s fascist criminal is another man’s repressed and/or repressive/oppressed and/or oppressive/depressed and/or depressive freedom fighter whenever one throws into the mix the social media broadcasting of earlier Shocking Aweful Desert Storm footage whenever General Schwarzkopf was in gung-ho charge.

    And closing down and restricting any widely exercised and popular internetworking media facility tells the world and his dogs of war that governments have lost the plot and secret intelligence server service advantage, surely?

    Although it be best to neither confirm or deny that in the best interests of national, international and internetional security.

    And mirroring a leaf out of the Director General of the Office of Counter Terrorism [OSCT] at the Home Office’s Playbook …….. Save where otherwise stated, all facts and matters referred to in this statement are true and within my knowledge or have come to my attention during the course of my work. Insofar as facts and matters are not directly within my knowledge they are true to the best of my knowledge and belief

  14. James Micallef Silver badge
    Coat

    Jon Snow of Channel 4 News

    You know nothing, Jon Snow

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jon Snow of Channel 4 News

      Love it! Just working through the books now :D

      Have an upvote. That really made my day.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    according to BBCradio4 'Today' 18-6-14 07:14h

    when the UK proscribed ISIS on Sunday, quite a few Tw@tter accounts (in the UK) went dark, in a related move.

    The knowledgable interviewee said that ISIS had a seemingly very effective widespread support base that was following & responding to events. Methinks there's currently some Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), Part III, (2007) "give us your passwords laddies" going-on, allegedly.

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