Those satellite dishes and other technology, often sold by Syrian traders, are then usually managed by Iraqi civilians or members of the IS group posing as civilians. Anyone who subscribes to the service, or who uses an Internet café, can then get online. Since June 2014, the number of Internet cafes in Mosul has increased dramatically due to the high cost of getting the Internet at home and the poor quality of service to private residences.
Now only certain kinds of people in Mosul get private Internet: Those in the city who still earn enough money to afford it, those who must remain in contact with the outside world either because of business or family, such as owners of currency exchange shops who manage their rates online, and also individuals who are very active, running pages or accounts on social media.
For several months the IS group has been cracking down on local Internet users, especially anyone considered an activist on sites like Facebook. Dozens of people have been arrested.
“They raided my house, searched my computer and my phone and then they blindfolded me and took me away,” says one young man from Mosul, who recently arrived in Istanbul after fleeing the Iraqi city. He had spent ten weeks under arrest in a basement in the centre of the city.
“They accused me of being the administrator of a Facebook page that supports the international coalition [fighting against the IS group] and the Iraqi army, and they said I’d given information about the IS group to those parties. But they couldn’t prove any of it. In the end I was arrested because they found some publications on my computer that they think are anti-Islamic as well as some jokes, pictures of good looking women and some notes that they felt had sexual connotations.”