Every day for the past year, the government of Bahrain has shut off the internet in Duraz between 7PM and 1AM, making this the longest internet shutdown in the history of the region, and one of the longest internet shutdowns in world history.
Deji from Accessnow writes, “The internet shutdown in Duraz is a pernicious, highly technical (and disguised) form of a shutdown. This is happening in the middle of the Gulf crisis, amidst a crackdown on rights activists. The UN Human Rights Council has condemned the practice of shutdowns and internet companies and telcos around the world have spoken out against them through the Global Network Initiative.”
Our research revealed the presence of a device on Batelco’s Internet backbone that disrupts certain Internet traffic to and from Duraz between 7PM and 1AM, while leaving other traffic undisrupted. We concluded that it is possible that the disruptions were a result of a Service Restriction Order (SRO) from the Bahrain Government.
The disruption was part of the systematic security siege of the village following protests that began on 20 June 2016 after the government revoked the nationality of prominent Shia cleric Sh. Isa Qassim. Protesters remained on the streets outside his home for almost one year until the Ministry of Interior (MoI) led an armed operation on 23 May 2017 to disperse the protests.
We have verified that the internet disruption has been carried out every day since 23 June 2016, marking one year of nightly internet disruptions.