Cablegate: Tfiz01: Venting On the Web: Jordan Internet Use

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The two major Internet providers in Jordan
report a sharp upsurge in Internet use, particularly email
traffic, over the past week. Technical support managers said
that sophisticated software is allowing users to access and
download inflammatory TV news reports, which are then given
broad circulation via email. Despite an increase in traffic
that has at times reached 95% of capacity, providers report
no problems providing uninterrupted service. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Hamed Ghamam, Technical Support Director for
Cyberia, Jordan's largest internet provider, told us March 27
that Internet use had surged since the conflict with Iraq
began one week ago. He said that while most users accessed
the Web to check on the news throughout the day, there has
been an unusually high increase in email traffic. Ghamam
said that he was now receiving 50 emails per day, up from 20
as recently as last week. Judging by the content of emails
he has received lately from contacts around the region,
senders have become more sophisticated in their ability to
download television news programs and "rebroadcast" them to
friends and family. He said the messages he has received
feature footage from Al Jazeera or Iraqi TV, showing
particularly incendiary clips. Ghamam said that the tone of
the mail has been "extremely angry and growing moreso day by
day." He added that he has also seen an increase in
individual calls for a boycott of American and British goods,
but stressed that "there is no organized character to it as
of yet."

3. (SBU) Likewise, Adel Uzaizi, Technical Support Manager
for Batelco (the other leading ISP), said that his company
has also seen a recent increase in traffic. He said that
many subscribers take advantage of Internet access at work to
read the news and send emails in reaction. He broadly echoed
Ghamam's comments, and said that there was "lots of anger out
there and this is the only way some people can vent." Uzaizi
said that it was relatively easy, if one had the right
software, which is easily obtainable, to pull newscasts right
of the Internet and send them around. Uzaizi said, too, that
mobile text messaging was being utilized the same way.

4. (SBU) Both managers said their networks can easily handle
the traffic, although Ghamam said that at peak times, from
8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the week, Cyberia had reached
95% of its capacity, up from 80% one week ago, with no
problems. He said that levels of use are lowest on Friday
and rise a bit on Saturday. Uzaizi said that Hashem One, the
main link for the Internet in Jordan, is maintained by Jordan
Telecom, and "has been pretty dependable" throughout busy
times, such as the Eid holiday and Ramadam.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: As long as the war goes on, and probably
after, Jordanians will use the Internet to vent their
feelings and share news and opinions. Unless it is used to
organize and incite violence, this medium is probably
perceived by the Government of Jordan as a tolerable, and
preferable, way for people to let off steam. We know of only
one U.S.-based, Arabic website,, that
appears to be blocked by the GOJ for political content.

© Scoop Media

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