Last weekend, protests erupted in Egypt in response to corruption allegations against President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s government.
Protests have been rare since President Sisi took power in 2014, but amid policies of economic austerity and recent corruption allegations, hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets. It was subsequently reported that BBC News and the US-funded Alhurra news website were amongst blocked services. The head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation reportedly stated that the BBC and other news websites may have been blocked because of their “inaccurate” coverage of the protests.
As part of a crackdown on protests (more of which are expected tomorrow, 27th September 2019), Egyptian security forces reportedly arrested at least 59 demonstrators (the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights reported that hundreds of individuals linked to the protests have been arrested over the last week).
Unfortunately, media censorship is pervasive in Egypt, as documented through our previous studies. Thanks to ongoing OONI Probe testing in Egypt, we were able to check measurements on the testing of bbc.com and alhurra.com. We also corroborated OONI findings with manual curl tests performed in Egypt on Telecom Egypt (AS8452) with the help of our local partners.
In this report, we share OONI network measurement data from the testing of bbc.com and alhurra.com, and explain how the blocking was implemented on a technical level. We also share some recommendations on what these website owners can do to improve the resilience of their sites to internet censorship.
Detection seems to be based on SNI.