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Algeria bans Twitter, Facebook after exam papers leaked online

Mon 20 Jun 2016

Algeria exams

Algeria has mad moves to block social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, and has also partially cut off access to 3G data services for its citizens following an exam paper leak.

Over 555,000 secondary school students are now having to resit their baccalaureate exam [French] after the papers were leaked across social media. The social sites involved in the illegal distribution were switched off from Sunday to prevent further cheating.

The Ministry of National Education explained that ‘all measures have been taken to ensure the smooth running of the exams, in collaboration with other sectors concerned, namely the National Police, National Gendarmerie, Civil Protection and Health authorities.’

Algerian authorities had stated earlier this month that dozens of arrests had been made, including of individuals working at national education offices and printers, linked to reported leaks.

The Ministry of Post, Information Technology and Communication, said in a statement on Sunday that the ‘cut of social networks has a direct relationship with the matriculation exams.’ It added that the move was made to protect students against ‘phoney topics’ that they may find shared online.

Many governments around the world have recently banned internet services for their citizens in an attempt to quell protests and other ‘disruptions.’ In April, isolated North Korea officially cut off access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other popular social media sites, to stop foreigners staying in the country from posting about interior activity.

Last December, the Bangladeshi government continued with its blocking spree, taking down Skype and Twitter after shutting off Facebook and Whatsapp the previous month. The government made the decision after a supreme court sentenced two opposition leaders to death.

While governments cite security and protection of citizen, they also restrict communications in times of national crisis and block the crucial flow of information and news.

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