Iraq seeks to halt Internet services to silence IS propaganda
Iraq is trying to persuade satellite firms to halt Internet services in areas under Islamic State's rule, seeking to deal a major blow to the group's potent propaganda machine which relies heavily on social media to inspire its followers to wage jihad.
Social media apps like Twitter and Telegram are scrambling to limit Islamic State's cyber-activities. So far that has proven to be a cat-and-mouse-game, with the group re-emerging through other accounts with videos showing beheadings and extolling the virtues of living in a caliphate.
For Iraq then, the key is to stop the militant group from accessing the web at all - a feat, which if achieved, could sever a significant part of a propaganda campaign that has inspired deadly attacks in the West.
Mobile networks are largely inoperable in the Islamic State-held swathes of Iraq, areas which also have little fixed-line broadband infrastructure. Militants instead use satellite dishes to connect to the web, or illicit microwave dishes that hook them into broadband networks in government-held areas, three telecoms industry sources reported.
There are many challenges for the Iraqi authorities: within the satellite Internet industry, no one assumes responsibility for identifying and vetting end users, the territory under Islamic State's often shifts, and a complex web of middlemen makes it tough to pinpoint who is selling militants Internet capacity.