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Watching Algeria

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algeria.pngEarly reports from Algeria tonight suggested that another Internet takedown may be underway, similar to the one that affected Egypt. So far, however, we don’t see confirming evidence for it.

Algerian providers get their international connectivity via submarine cables from Europe, with diverse transit from a long list of providers: Level3, Cogent, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, France Telecom, and Tinet. A pretty wide range of Algerian providers (Telecom Algeria, Wataniya Telecom Algeria, SPA Anwarnet, Smart Link, Orascom/Djezzy, etc.) have direct international connectivity, as seen in the BGP routing table. There’s still no Internet exchange, or at least none that’s widely advertised. All of that presumably makes a “kill switch” strategy somewhat more difficult to implement.

Algeria typically has about 135 routed network prefixes in the global routing table, and our data show that they are all still routed and relatively stable. Traceroutes inbound confirm that sites hosted in these prefixes are still alive, and spot checks of websites hosted in Algeria show that most are up and functioning normally. A few that we checked were unreachable, including the telecommunications regulatory authority (http://www.arpt.dz), the Prime Minister’s office (http://www.cg.gov.dz), and other sites hosted at Djaweb (Telecom Algeria’s hosting brand).

It’s possible that new Internet blocks have been put in place that would not be visible from outside, such as Iran-style throttling or shutdowns of residential connections. We’ll have to wait for some assessment of drops in inbound/outbound traffic levels to spot those subtler internal changes.


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