There are lots of beautiful dresses, shirts, jeans and skirts at her wardrobe.
Just as the “fog of war” makes it difficult for commanders to make informed decisions based on situational awareness, so does it make it difficult for researchers to trace the dynamics of the information environment through careful evidence-based analysis.
In the midst of a war it is difficult to distinguish deliberate attempts to control information through disruption or control of the supply of resources needed to power media or telecommunications from accidents of warfare or collateral damage.
Adding to the challenges are the security risks that research in zones of conflict presents.
Throughout this case study we faced ongoing concerns about the safety of the in-country researcher with whom we collaborated, debated the ethics of undertaking network measurement in an environment of high risk, and ceased testing altogether as a result of these concerns.
In this case study, we find that the Houthis undertook a concerted effort to shape the information environment in Yemen to their advantage by shutting down local media, increasing Internet filtering, and limiting the supply of oil necessary to power infrastructure — what might be best described as a strategy of “information denial” in line with the Houthis’ extreme ideology.
Coincidentally, collateral disruptions to electricity and other infrastructure related to the armed conflict have also worked in favour of the Houthis in this regard.
Because of disruptions to infrastructure and scarcities of fuel supplies, citizens’ access to information was reduced largely to battery-operated radios, leaving mass media controlled by the very same group that implements strict information the primary source of news and information.
Network traffic monitoring data sources, such as those from Google and Dyn, help illuminate the timelines related to outages and, when used alongside corroborating information, can provide further precision to the analysis around attribution in future cases.
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