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November 23, 2013

Is online censorship returning to Tunisia?

Cyber activists fear the return of web surveillance in the country.

Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh speaks during a meeting as part of the dialogues between Tunisia's ruling Islamists and the opposition at the Palais des Congres in Tunis, Tunisia, 05 October 2013. (EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA )

The launch of a telecommunication investigative agency in Tunisia is raising concerns over the return of web surveillance and censorship in the country. Following an order by Prime Minister Ali Larayedh, the government established the Technical Agency of Telecommunication (ATT). 

Cyber activists are referring to the agency as "Ammar 404" or "404 not found",  a term which was used in reference to online censorship measures under ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Many popular internet websites such as YouTube were banned until censorship was dismantled after he fled the country.