Internet traffic in Libya remains cut off

Internet traffic in and out of Libya has yet to come back online after it dropped to almost nothing Thursday, according to Google.

Internet traffic in and out of Libya has yet to come back online after it dropped to almost nothing Thursday, according to Google.

Google's charts show that data transmission to its services from Libya flat-lined at about 7 a.m. ET Thursday morning and internet connectivity has remained unavailable since.

Libya has seen erratic internet service during February amidst violent conflicts between rebels demanding the ouster of leader Moammar Gadhafi and forces loyal to him. Full service had been slowly returning until the outage.

A similar internet blackout was seen during the Egyptian protests in late January as Hosni Mubarak's regime attempted to disrupt the opposition's ability to communicate and organize. The internet was shut down for nearly a week and came back online on Feb. 2.

Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at network security firm Arbor Networks, has been monitoring the situation in Libya closely on his blog. He explained that though both disruptions have common elements in that they exhibited connection drops from all locations at once, there are technical differences between the two incidents.

"In Egypt, they withdrew the underlying networks, but in Libya the routes are all still there," said Labovitz. "The internet knows how to reach [the Libyan networks] but the data is just being blocked."

The technical term for this disruption is a "black-hole route," said Labovitz, where the traffic in Libya is diverted and never reaches its original destination.