Iraq shuts down internet so let’s talk about it

Since the beginning of protests in #Iraq, the government is deliberately cutting the entire country’s internet off from the rest of the world, except for Kurdistan region. In this blog, I will be analyzing the network changes/updates, behaviors and legal challenges of the issue.

Legal background: Who controls networks in Iraq? and how can the government forces service providers (private sector) to do so?According to chapter 5 of the Iraqi Communications and Information Law, (قانون الاتصالات و المعلوماتية), which regulates Interconnection and Access, article 16, states that The Iraqi public network operator (government entity) is responsible to connect ISPs, network operators and their infrastructures internally and to global networks. Which means, connecting providers to the world can be only through the government and its solo getaway, that gives the government the ‘legal’ switch to turn off access to the world.Iraq has four gateways to the global internet, two of them are via Al-Faw submarine cables, provided by Gulf Bridge International Cable System and Global Cloud Xchange, the other gateways are in Kurdistan region coming from Turkey and Iran via Newroz and IQ Networks.

International access to the network: Iraq has four gateways to the global internet, two of them are via Al-Faw submarine cables, provided by Gulf Bridge International Cable System and Global Cloud Xchange, the other gateways are in Kurdistan region coming from Turkey and Iran via Newroz and IQ Networks.

Going back to legal, Chapter 6, regulates Internet, Article 18 declares that ministry of communication is the only entity to oversee Internet service all over Iraq.

Chapter 7, which regulates infrastructure, article 22/2 states that the government has the right to expropriate any infrastructure owned by service providers (private sector).

And here where it gets worse, Chapter 9, article 33, states that service providers (private sector) and out of their pocket, will prepare all the needed infrastructure, hardware and software that will allow security forces to access the network (control) for national security.
Article 35, of the same chapter states that, any government agency that has control over the network has no right to carry any surveillance activity, unless they have the approval from the court or in case of dealing with kidnapping, terrorist attacks or vandalism (اعمال تخريبية), and it’s worth mentioning that the Iraqi government have accused protesters of (vandalism) many times.
In this particulate law, nothing covers covers Internet shutdown, which is a gray area in the hands of security decision making squad of the state.

In this particulate law, nothing covers covers Internet shutdown, which is a gray area in the hands of security decision making squad of the state.

On the technical side, at the moment of writing this blog, the internet was down in Iraq, so I tried to access government communication companies’ websites to see what’s online and what’s offline.

1- cabinet[.]iq websites is down but the server 162.144.86.46 is online. Funny that the @IraqiGovt website is hosted in the U.S

2- parliament].]iq is behind cloud flare, and it’s up and running.

It seems like up until Dec 2018, the server was hosted on the same American based hosting provider that is hosting cabinet[.]iq, here in the U.S.

3- Both mod[.]mil[.]iq and moi[.]gov[.]iq are hosted here in the U.S, and they are both online.

asiacell[.]com the leading communication company is actually online! and their website is accessible from 91.213.191[.]98, which is its origin AS is AS51684I.

I will be updating this blog as the situations changes.


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