Following Iran protests over a sharp increase in fuel prices in the country, internet blackout began on Saturday night, local time.
Iran internet blackout
On social media, Iranians living or travelling abroad have shared stories of being cut off from their families and friends back home.
Since Saturday, Iran internet traffic has plummeted to 5% of normal levels, according to NetBlocks.
NetBlocks tracks connectivity in countries around the world by scanning the internet for communications devices – routers, servers, mobile phone towers – and keeping a database of those known to be online in each territory.
By periodically sending brief messages over the internet to these devices, a practice called “pinging”, NetBlocks and similar organisations can see when they go offline.
Update: 65 hours after #Iran implemented a near-total internet shutdown, some of the last remaining networks are now being cut and connectivity to the outside world has fallen further to 4% of normal levels ? #Internet4Iran #IranProtests
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) November 19, 2019
However, connections to the outside world in Iran are funnelled through just two entities: the state telecoms firm and the Institute for Physics and Mathematics, which means that authorities are more easily able to block communications in and out of the country.
NetBlocks has been able to detect the disconnection of internet devices with fixed line connections as well as the loss of service at mobile phone masts – which demonstrates that wireless mobile internet is also disrupted.
One Iranian journalist managed to tweet a message to the outside world by connecting to a series of proxy servers – internet devices that are linked in a chain in order to transmit data between networks.
It might also be possible for individuals in Iran to use satellite internet or roaming SIM cards to access the wider internet.
However, these methods are not guaranteed to work and may be monitored by authorities.
Tech firm Oracle’s internet-monitoring service has described it as “the largest internet shutdown ever observed in Iran”.
With Iranians’ access to the internet restricted it’s hard to get a clear image of the situation, but Reuters reported that some videos uploaded to social media in spite of the ban showed protests continuing on Monday night.
Most complex internet blackout yet
India cut off internet access to the disputed region of Kashmir in August of this year, and since that time has axed the region’s semi-autonomous status.