During the 2000s, the regime in Syria has significantly developed the country’s Internet infrastructure, with the percentage of Internet users in Syria passing from 0.2% of the population in 2000 to nearly 18% in 2010. However, this Internet infrastructure is highly centralized, and its backbone is owned by a state-controlled entity called the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment. Evidence shows that the Syrian Internet infrastructure was designed to include surveillance mechanisms allowing an exhaustive collection of emails, chat conversations, and addresses of webpages visited.

Since its inception, this highly centralized state-controlled Internet infrastructure has been subject to large-scale surveillance and censoring. These activities are a cornerstone of the regime’s strategy to control the population and suppress its opposition. Censorship especially affects websites related to topics considered highly sensitive ...

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