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Iraq Shuts Down Internet In Entire Country To Prevent Exam Cheating (softpedia.com) 92

An anonymous reader writes: The Iraqi government has ordered ISPs to shut down Internet access in the entire country to prevent exam cheating for Iraq's official exams for secondary and high schools. This is the second year in a row when Iraq does this, after the same thing happened in 2015. Companies like Akamai and Dyn also noted the government's poor decision on Twitter. It appears that Iraqi officials never heard of signal jammers and video cameras to combat exam cheating. The country's Internet went dark May 14-16th, between 05:00 AM and 08:00 AM GMT. An Iraqi ISP leaked on Facebook the content of an email it received from state officials.
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Iraq Shuts Down Internet In Entire Country To Prevent Exam Cheating

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "It appears that Iraqi officials never heard of signal jammers and video cameras to combat exam cheating."
    Seems easier to just turn off the internet than to send signal jammers to every school and ensure they are being used, and cover the correct frequencies.

  • by robotvoice ( 2837755 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @10:08PM (#52131881)
    I'm sure they've heard of those technologies. I'm sure they use them.

    I'm also pretty certain they don't have the resources to equip every school with signal jammers and cameras - and staff to operate them. This is the cheap option.

    How cheap it is compared to the business and productivity lost is unknown : )

    Reminiscent of the arguments for putting pollution filtering on fossil fuel burning power plants vs. capturing pollution from every individual personal motor vehicle.
    • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @10:26PM (#52131951)

      How cheap it is compared to the business and productivity lost is unknown : )

      Lost? I'm sure a lot of businesses had increased productivity that morning.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Reminiscent of the arguments for putting pollution filtering on fossil fuel burning power plants vs. capturing pollution from every individual personal motor vehicle.

      Not really. The cost of pollution controls on cars can be easily passed on to consumers because it is a tangible part on the automobile. On a power plant it will have to be factored into existing operational costs and how to divvy these up to the consumers (by usage, flat rate, additional incidental charge,etc).

      You can't charge students taking a test for the camera pointing at them.

      • You can't charge students taking a test for the camera pointing at them.

        Sure they can. I've taken tests at testing centers where they did exactly that. What do you think those test fees are for? They just divide up the cost of operating the camera among the number of people taking the test. It's trivial to do that. I'm an accountant and in cost accounting we do stuff like this all the time. It's called cost allocation. Some costs are easy to attribute to a specific activity. Others aren't so easy but ultimately you have to allocate all the costs somehow and there is usu

    • This is the cheap option.

      The cheap option is to make sure the exam invigilator is not asleep and have strict rules of what devices are allowed in exams i.e. ones with zero remote communication abilities. It's not hard to do.

    • But on the other side, consider the productivity cost of having the wrong test scores assigned to kids. While test scores are far from perfect, that kind of wholesale inaccuracy can impact productivity for a generation.

    • How cheap it is compared to the business and productivity lost is unknown : )

      Multiply the number of Iraqi's who read slash dot by their hourly rate and the number of hours the internet was down. That's how much money was saved :D

  • Pen and paper (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @10:19PM (#52131921)

    Wouldn't it be simpler just to make the examination hall a technology free zone?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Spoken like someone who's parents aren't powerful enough to coerce/bribe the local principal and teachers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Spoken like someone whose parents definitely bribed the local principal and teachers :S
    • Or perhaps just turn off all the power to the country. How insane!

      Really... why are they allowing students to use any electronics during the exams? Problem solved.

  • Thats not too extreme or anything
  • Therefore, only those who could afford a mobile device with a cache of wikipedia could cheat...

    • Therefore, only those who could afford a mobile device with a cache of wikipedia could cheat...

      This may help on some tests, but limits the effectiveness of nationwide tweets where "the answer to question n is three," etc...

  • Is it really that easy to block access entirely? Are there any stories of people that found a way around the damage?

    • by ark1 ( 873448 )
      You could simply setup a wireless LAN and have students share info this way.
  • arrogance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 )

    Ah, the smell of western arrogance in the morning. Of course if some brown people decide something, it must be stupid.

    Or it could simply be that they decided to not engage in an arms race with students, to take no chances (seems these exams are really important to them) and to make sure.

    And it's not like the USA wouldn't be known for the same kind of knee-jerk reaction. Like when all air travel was shut down for a week following 9/11. Because... uh, because of what? Anyone seriously thought there were more

    • Re:arrogance (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @07:56AM (#52133729) Homepage

      Who the fuck said anything about "brown people?"

      If the same thing happened in say, Alabama, we'd comment on it too. .

      Stupid is as stupid does, no matter the skin color or location. The sheer ridiculousness of taking net access away from an entire country "for the children" is what's being mocked here, not the technological abilities in Iraq.

      As to your air travel strawman, The US was trying to determine what had happened. We had no way of knowing that there were NOT more terrorists lined up, and the severity of 9/11 was a bit higher than some kids cheating on an exam. In retrospect, that reaction might not have been warranted, but seeing as how nothing like that had ever happened before, there are worse ways we could have reacted.

      • by LordWabbit2 ( 2440804 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @08:33AM (#52133887)
        Yeah, you could have invaded a country that wasn't even involved, I mean, THAT would have been an overreaction.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          please, that invasion might have been painted as an overreaction but it was calculated and intended... by morons, maybe, but calculated nonetheless

        • What country would that be? 9/11 caused the invasion of Afghanistan, which was involved.

          Saddam Hussein's posturing about having WMD to attack Iran with, and refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors in, along with strong indications that he had the weapons led to the invasion of Iraq.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        The sheer ridiculousness of taking net access away from an entire country "for the children" is what's being mocked here, not the technological abilities in Iraq.

        So the Internet will be down for one pre-announced day. That's a big inconvenience, granted. But why is it so ridiculous if this is the national exam day where, apparently, basically everyone takes their exam? And why does it have to be ridiculous, stupid and all those terms? Someone made a decision and decided that this is bigger than that. We may disagree (I do as well), but why humiliate and insult?

        The US was trying to determine what had happened.

        It wasn't clear? That is what you're saying? It wasn't absolutely crystal clear what had happened? Please,

    • The US solution is the best. Everyone passes. Everyone is a winner.

      I used to be amazed while I worked at a University with first year students. I was literally the first person in their academic life where failure actually meant halt and go no further until you pass. Watching what happens at primary school (not in the US) these days makes me cry. A report card with F F F F F and the student happily progresses to the next grade. Shit when I went through school they actively made people repeat grades. Where I

      • Worse than you think. Texas now allows a "kid" up to 26 to stay in high school. Friend is a teacher, unbelievable stuff happening. He has told me stories like, principle to teacher: Johnny's grade is too low, he needs to pass, teacher back to principle: What grade would you like me to give johnny?, C. Johnny was flunking big time, but graduation rates are too low, so we need to pass more. And those exams are a joke, I thought you had to pass to graduate, nope not the case. As my friend says, the kids run th

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          He has told me stories like, principle to teacher: Johnny's grade is too low, he needs to pass, teacher back to principle

          Principal. Interesting to see people who are unable to spell complaining about the low standards in schools....

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        True, stupidity at the highest level.

        When I went to school, you would repeat a grade if you failed, but not in the first 4 years, when you were still a small kid and wouldn't understand it. You could also change school if you fail, or are in danger of failing.

    • What the fuck are you on about regarding Brown people? Can you kindly point out where that's being said?

      This seems more like 'Eastern' make shit up to make people feel guilty syndrome to me.

  • by NoOneInParticular ( 221808 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @02:46AM (#52132639)
    Are the Iraqi's seriously shutting down .iq to improve school exams?
  • Basically they touch the ground to see what would be consequences of cutting off Internetz for whole population for extended periods of time. Perhaps for ever.

  • What did cheaters do before the internet?

    It's far more effective to get kids to arrive in uniform; leave their school bags and phones/tablets/smartwatches outside and have good spacing between tables and a person present in the classroom to monitor activities.

    Do the old school teacher trick and leave the room for a bit. Often you'll see desperate cheaters frantically checking to see if you've gone far and what the brightest students notes are. Cheating children are easily caught.

    If you have a budget f
    • I saw a series of pictures posted the other day with some of the things confiscated from exams.
      Like calculators that have been hollowed out and the keypad is removable to expose the phone inside.
      Devious little buggers. Holds a lot more info than a long sleeve can cover.

  • in Iraq. Yet. Can you imagine how many billions of dollars would be lost by a Western nation trying this? Many is my answer.

    Given the precarious conditions, I can only assume that they figure turning off the internet won't have that great an economic impact.

  • But the Ieaqi government doesn't control the entire country.
    What about ISIS, or the Kurds,

  • The real solution is better proctoring, do they have a proctor shortage in Iraq?

  • Allah is PISSED!

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