Reports out of Algeria say the North African country has shut down Internet access and eliminated Facebook accounts as pro-democracy protesters seek to topple the government much as Egyptians did in their nation this week.
The report from The Telegraph of London says some 30,000 riot police were used to disperse crowds in Algiers and that journalists have been targeted by “state-sponsored thugs.”
Reports of the international hacking group Anonymous blocking an Algerian government website have also surfaced.
But Renesys, an Internet monitoring company that closely tracked the Egyptian Internet shutdown, said in a blog post late Saturday afternoon that it was not seeing an Internet shutdown in Algeria: “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.”
EGYPT: Anatomy of an Internet blackout
Protesters against President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s regime in Algeria have been encouraged by the success of anti-government movements in Egypt and Tunisia (a neighbor of Algeria) organized to a great extent via the Internet and social media. Egypt’s economy reportedly lost $90 million by blocking Internet access.
The protests and Internet crackdowns in these countries have revived talk in the United States of giving the president an Internet kill switch.