Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypts Internet Goes Dark, Shuts Down Cellphone Service

In Egypt, where there's an anti-government movement due to corruption, a failing economy and lack of freedoms, citizens have taken to the streets in protest.

Due to the continuous uprising of people protesting, Egypt has taken the country off-line. As of Thursday night at 10:12pm local time, all 4 major ISPs in the country "went dark" within a 13 minute time frame. There is no communication inbound or outbound from the country except for a few government sites and their stock exchange. The Egyptian government also asked mobile operators to go offline, leaving the local telephone carriers as the only form of communication in the country.

In the past countries have blocked sites like youtube, twitter and facebook to try and contain the protests that were occurring in their countries. In the Egyptian case they didn't block by domain name, but instead removed access completely to the internet. I'd be very interested to see the financial loss that's occurring to business due to having no internet presence. This means no e-mail, ftp, or http traffic going into or out of the country. How are international businesses supposed to operate if they can't communicate? Egypt is hurting themselves financially by trying to cover up whats going on in their country. Egypt is also a major hub between Africa and the middle east and its likely that by pulling themselves off the internet, they've distrusted connections to other countries. This wasn't thought out properly.

I don't see what they're trying to prove here? Everyone in the world knows that they're rioting, and they think that by pulling the plug they'll fool everyone into believing that every things okay? Didn't they learn from the Iranian elections?

Lastly, with all the talk about the Obama administration wanting to create an "Internet Kill Switch" in America, the Egyptian case scares me even more. Is this why they want to create the American kill switch? The Obama administration wants it in place to protect the government and critical infrastructure, right. The Egyptians obviously didn't have one in place because there was a time gap between each ISP going down. Due to the infrastructure in America and the number of ISPs it would be incredibly difficult to shut us off the internet like the Egyptians, but creating this "Kill Switch" to have us removed is terrifying.

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