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The Night the Digital Lights Went Out In Syria

There is nothing new about this sort of action. In the days before the Internet, radio and TV stations, more often than not government owned, often went silent or dark during times of military insurrections. If not dark, they dropped regular programming to broadcast wall-to-wall marches, interspersed with announcements ordering all citizens to remain indoors while reassuring them that government forces had everything under control.

The intent, of course, was rarely reassurance but was meant to strike fear in the citizenry and thereby pacify them – or at least make them think twice about cooperating with the other side. Pulling the plug on the Internet accomplishes the same thing – and more. Not only does it cut lines of communications though social networks like Twitter and Facebook, it also effectively disrupts telephone communications, as even calls made from land lines are apt to be routed through the Internet these days.