Syria and the tragic dream of autonomous internet access: The case of bassel safadi and the syrian revolution

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter delves into the theme of control and censorship from the viewpoint of people involved in social movements. Harry Halpin, a cybersecurity and social activist, discusses in stark relief the challenges activists face in repressive regimes: in this case Syria. His chapter focuses on the efforts of Bassel Safadi, an activist involved in Syria’s revolution, to use mobile technologies and the Internet to communicate between activists and the population in the early days of the Syrian revolution despite the control measures imposed by the Syrian regime. Halpin describes in intricate and intimate detail the attempts of Safadi to establish free and safe means of communication using existing mobile technologies, such as free software applications. When the limitations of commercial mobile technologies become apparent, Safadi and Halpin discuss what alternative, independent mobile networks might and need look like. Safadi’s activism eventually led to his death, but the chapter wants to keep his dreams and work alive. It tells a story that is at once a guide and an inspiration to all those interested in creating free communication infrastructures, which enable users to overcome state controls and censorship in the quest for access to knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobile Technology and Social Transformations
Subtitle of host publicationAccess to Knowledge in Global Contexts
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781000375145
ISBN (Print)9780367545222
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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