Good news for the U.S. is really bad news for Syria. And Libya. And ... Greenland.
What happened in Syria this week -- a wholesale disconnection from the Internet -- could happen anywhere. But it's more likely to happen in some countries than others.
The web services firm Renesys often analyzes that risk -- for, say, companies that are deciding which countries might make good hosts for data centers. And, in light of the Syria situation, it has conducted "a census, from our own view of the global Internet routing table, of all the domestic providers in each country who have direct connections (visible in routing) to foreign providers." Using that information, the firm created the chart above.
The illustration here is mostly unsurprising: Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Myanmar -- countries led by volatile and/or autocratic regimes -- are the most at-risk, while (relatively) stable democracies and commonwealths like the U.S., Canada, and European nations are relatively resistant to blackout.
The most common risk factor, unsurprisingly, is centralization. A robust Internet architecture is a distributed Internet architecture -- one with built-in redundancies and, crucially, one that is modular enough to prevent the kill switch capabilities that can empower bad actors to act badly. "The key to the Internet's survival is the Internet's decentralization," the Renesys report notes, "and it's not uniform across the world."