Syria: Protesters’ text messages blocked using Irish equipment

The Syrian government has ordered text messages containing politically sensitive words to be blocked. Sources familiar with the country’s filtering system say that Irish technology is being used to prevent the delivery of text messages including  words such as ” revolution” or “demonstration”. The country’s largest mobile phone company Syriatel Mobile Telecom SA have allegedly used blocking equipment from Cellusys Ltd, a privately-held company based in Dublin. Since public unrest in Syria erupted last year, text messages have been a crucial tool for protesters.

Iran launches new webmail service

The Iranian authorities have launched a new webmail service intended to be a substitute for public employees currently using Gmail, Yahoo mail or Hotmail accounts. The new webmail service is easier to control than the foreign services currently used by 95% of Iranian public sector employees. Internet and text-messaging services in Iran has recently been the victim of the government’s crackdown on free speech in the country. Both services will experience disruptions this week as heavy protests are anticipated on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution on 11 February. The authorities claim the disruptions are due to damages to the fibre-optic cables and ‘changing software’.