Arbor Networks claims that its technology is installed in 70 percent of the world's service provider networks and monitors 80 percent of global Internet traffic. It feed information back to Arbor on the threats hitting these network, along with much other traffic information that enables Arbor to get an indication of happened to Iran's access to the global Internet in the wake of the election.
Writing on his blog Craig Labowitz, Arbor's chief scientist, said that Iran's total isolation lasted only for a few hours. "Within a few hours, a trickle of traffic returned across [international transit providers] TeliaSonera, Reliance and SingTel — all well under 1 Gbps. As of 6:30am GMT June 16, traffic levels returned to roughly 70 percent of normal with Reliance traffic climbing by more than a Gigabit."
Labowitz speculates that "DCI's [The state owned Data communication Company of Iran that acts as the gateway for all Internet traffic entering or leaving the country] Internet changes suggest piecemeal migration of traffic flows. Typically off the shelf / inexpensive Internet proxy and filtering appliances can support 1Gbps or lower. If DCI needed to support higher throughput (say, all Iranian Internet traffic), then redirecting subsets of traffic as the filtering infrastructure comes online would make sense."
He noted: "While other countries (eg Burma in 2007) completely unplugged the country during political unrest, Iran has taken a decidedly different tack," and he suggests that today, only the most politically and economically isolated countries have the luxury of being able to disconnect from the Internet to suppress their citizens' ability to exchange politically sensitive information with the outside world.
"Unlike Burma, Iran has significant commercial and technological relationships with the rest of the world. In other words, the government cannot turn off the Internet without impacting business and perhaps generating further social unrest. In all, this represents a delicate balance for the Iranian government and a test case for the Internet to impact democratic change. Events are still unfolding in Iran, but some reports are saying the Internet has already won."
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