Amid protests, Egypt shuts down internet [Updated]

Information is a powerful tool and according to the Twitter feed #Jan25, that tool has been shut down in Egypt amidst major protests over the past few days. Social media sites have been used in Egypt (and in Tunisia last week) to coordinate the protestors so the thought is that without a central spot to gather information, the protests may die down. When that didn't work, the country decided to block all traffic in and out of their borders in an effort to stop the protests.

Initially the country simply shutdown access to sites like Twitter and Facebook, places where protestors were gathering to coordinate their activities. Unfortunately for the Egyptian government, people are generally tech savvy nowadays and have found workarounds to the blockade. One such workaround was using Blackberry for web access, but that too had allegedly been disabled today according to the LA Times. Although this may have helped slow down access to some of the data, the use of proxies, VPNs and the like can generally be used to get around such restrictions.

In response to the government’s shutdown of sites like Twitter and Facebook, the BBC is reporting that hacktivist group Anonymous had launched a denial of service attack against the Egyptian interior ministry’s web page. The group, infamous for their DDoS attacks against companies they perceived as being anti-Wikileaks, has been providing information on bypassing the various social network blocks. The Egyptian government one-upped the attackers by shutting down the country's internet. This must have been one of the things the United States government had in mind when they introduced legislation that would give the president similar power.

Now that the country is dark it will be very difficult to know what is happening within its borders. It is unknown how long this blackout will last and what the ramifications will be.

Update: An anonymous source within Egypt has sent an open letter to Reddit, requesting support from the group. They are suggesting a boycott of global corporations such as Vodafone.

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Why would a government try to silence an entire nation? What could possibly force such a drastic measure and on the same note, what drastic retaliation is forthcoming?

The below quote applies to all citizens and all countries in my opinion. As we all stand and look at our governments and their hidden and pocket fed agendas, we are all in need of some type of salvation. The greedy politicians and corporations around our world have ruined any value of "governed" life in my opinion. Everything is about a dollar nowadays an these governments and politicians will allow nothing to stand in the way of rules/life being purchased at the highest bidder at the expense of those they are SWORE to protect.

Samuel Adams
"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."

Its crazy the US is trying to pass the internet kill switch bill so when something like whats happening in egypt they can do the same thing

laz45 said,
Its crazy the US is trying to pass the internet kill switch bill so when something like whats happening in egypt they can do the same thing

Then don't vote for Obama next election

This just shows how 'invulnerable' the internet really is. Some regime takes over the providers and that's that. They don't even need any technical prowess, they just need to find the OFF switch.

And that's very, very sad. Freedom online is an illusion.

In response to the government's shutdown of sites like Twitter and Facebook, the BBC is reporting that hacktivist group Anonymous had launched a denial of service attack against the Egyptian interior ministry's web page.

I bet you everything nobody will get arrested for this DDoS.

"The Egyptian government one-upped the attackers by shutting down the country's internet. This must have been one of the things the United States government had in mind when they introduced legislation that would give the president similar power."

That's just so sadly misinformed -- so wrong... totally out of touch...

If the gov *hit the switch* in any major democracy to curb dissent, made such an effort to control the people, it would be tantamount to a military coup. It would be individuals in the gov taking the gov from the people, against constitutions & founding principles. The pre-existing government would in effect cease, with authority passing to whomever has the most arms. The effects would be more drastic than in Tunisia because simply put, the people in a democracy would lose more, fall farther.

Assuming it was even possible for the U.S. gov to *cut the cord*, doing so to stifle dissent would destroy the economy -- granted the dollar isn't what it used to be, but the global impact of the resulting plunge in value would be truly catastrophic given the huge amount of both dollars & U.S. debt held around the world.

Internally in the U.S. it would be utter chaos. Free speech & a free press are pillars of our constitution -- a constitution that to many Americans, when it gives the right to bear arms means not against your neighbor, but towards any gov that leans towards tyranny. Arguably more than any other country, Americans simply will not be ruled -- questioning, opposing, & distrusting authority is almost an inbred trait. When we celebrate our revolution it's not just about the fireworks -- when we learn about & admire our founding fathers it's not just patriotism or being nationalistic.

Yes, democratic leaders have imposed strong censorship in times of war or other dire circumstances. No, they've never done it without frankly that sort of *political cover*. There's a definite reason, & it's not because democratic leaders are better people.

The Egyptian Government is in a state of panic. They are on the verge of being removed from power and their actions to date show that they will do anything to cling on, including isolating the very people they should be representing from the rest of the world by effectively turning off the internet.

The Egyptian Government twists things, here is just a small example.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11313738

Just comes to mind that this be another reason to protest. As people have already said, Protests and Riots happened before the Internet. and to organize such an event doesn't require it either. if enough people feel the same they'll take to the streets and make their view known. I think it's disgusting that Freedom of speech and thought is being trodden on.

I think this will just encourage more people on to the streets. Revolutions and protests happened before the internet existed. Sure it will be more difficult now but it won't stop them.

Why would you boycott Vodaphone? Why is it always black and white? What about people with families, friends, business, whatever, that still want to communicate and operate? There's reason to be upset with companies that cave, but maybe they should focus on the real problem first (you know, the reason they're protesting). Honestly, I'd have to think long and hard about limiting a service temporarily if it was that or shut down and no other options for people; if there was legitimate need for people not even involved in the "process" to use it. Not always about the money...and maybe they are wrong and it is about the money, but come on. There's two sides and they're not even the issue, the government is. All things in due time.

thornz0 said,
Why would you boycott Vodaphone? Why is it always black and white? What about people with families, friends, business, whatever, that still want to communicate and operate? There's reason to be upset with companies that cave, but maybe they should focus on the real problem first (you know, the reason they're protesting). Honestly, I'd have to think long and hard about limiting a service temporarily if it was that or shut down and no other options for people; if there was legitimate need for people not even involved in the "process" to use it. Not always about the money...and maybe they are wrong and it is about the money, but come on. There's two sides and they're not even the issue, the government is. All things in due time.

Maybe because they are paying for the services provided by that company? And expect to have the ability to communicate with whoever they see fit as long as they are paying for the service? Why support the company if they are gonna give into pressure from the government?

People can find other alternatives, such as free forms of communication like skype, etc.

Of course this requires internet access... which they don't have so it doesn't solve anything. By boycotting the ISPs, they will lose money and might be willing to stand up for their clients in the future.

...or the citizens of Egypt could just move?

thornz0 said,
Why would you boycott Vodaphone? Why is it always black and white? What about people with families, friends, business, whatever, that still want to communicate and operate? There's reason to be upset with companies that cave, but maybe they should focus on the real problem first (you know, the reason they're protesting). Honestly, I'd have to think long and hard about limiting a service temporarily if it was that or shut down and no other options for people; if there was legitimate need for people not even involved in the "process" to use it. Not always about the money...and maybe they are wrong and it is about the money, but come on. There's two sides and they're not even the issue, the government is. All things in due time.

If you live in Egypt Vodaphone just conspired with the government to stop you communicating with your family. Vodaphone are conspiring to oppress a nation and prevent freedom of speech and protest.

Now maybe you don't care because it's not happening in your country, if so, that is a sad reflection on how you view your place in society.

I don't think boycotting the company even has to be that inconvenient. Just switch over to someone else and let them know why. It doesn't have to be today to get the message through if enough people do it.

MidTxWRX said,

Maybe because they are paying for the services provided by that company? And expect to have the ability to communicate with whoever they see fit as long as they are paying for the service? Why support the company if they are gonna give into pressure from the government?

People can find other alternatives, such as free forms of communication like skype, etc.

Of course this requires internet access... which they don't have so it doesn't solve anything. By boycotting the ISPs, they will lose money and might be willing to stand up for their clients in the future.

...or the citizens of Egypt could just move?

It's not a matter of connecting with their families, it's much bigger than this.

Facebook, Twitter, SMS, mobile phone calls, these all were the means of planning and grouping for the whole protesting thing. So, Vodafone not only did they prevent them from communicating with their relatives in such a sensitive situation, but also they stood on the government's side helping them stop this. It won't stop them.

This sort of business really scares the crap out of me. I never thought Egypt to be a very militant country. Kinda makes hit a little closer to home.

Egypt suck ass. I don't agree with anything Anon does, but shutting the country down is not the right way to deal with things ... the government over there makes me realise how good our country really is.

Spirit Dave said,
Egypt suck ass. I don't agree with anything Anon does, but shutting the country down is not the right way to deal with things ... the government over there makes me realise how good our country really is.

Agree, just starting to realize how important these things are to me that I take for granted.

Spirit Dave said,
Egypt suck ass. I don't agree with anything Anon does, but shutting the country down is not the right way to deal with things ... the government over there makes me realise how good our country really is.

Why don't you agree with anything Anon does?
Actually Egypt's government and Egypt's president Hosni Mobarak are very close to both Israel and the USA.
I wonder why the USA doesn't support a country living under a brutal ruler for 30 years even in the simplest forms, while it invades a whole other country for a similar reason for 10 years now.

wajed said,

I wonder why the USA doesn't support a country living under a brutal ruler for 30 years even in the simplest forms, while it invades a whole other country for a similar reason for 10 years now.

I was in Cairo last month -- and I'd hardly consider them to be anywhere near what Iraq was. In fact, my tour guide was actually complaining that the women were dressing too "western" and were allowed to drive. It was definitely a poor country, but "brutal ruler" seems a bit over the top based on what I saw.

Nice preview of what you can expect in U.S. and worldwide soon after that. Governments don't care what the people want, they are here to control, nothing else. That government deserves to fail and removal alone seems inadequate. Not long ago, when a government failed that badly, the people rebelled and killed all the scumbags that oppressed them. I love history.

This is really sad. I feel sorry for that country, I really wanted to visit it someday soon. I know it will still be there, but I won't feel comfortable going into a country with such political and military instability...

TDT said,
This is really sad. I feel sorry for that country, I really wanted to visit it someday soon. I know it will still be there, but I won't feel comfortable going into a country with such political and military instability...

I wouldn't feel comfortable visiting with no internet lol.

I have been before, would've gone again.

TDT said,
This is really sad. I feel sorry for that country, I really wanted to visit it someday soon. I know it will still be there, but I won't feel comfortable going into a country with such political and military instability...

It will be even safer soon, but I'm not very optimistic. Egypt's situation will completely change. Israel will never want stability in Egypt as long as those who rule Egypt don't adhere to it's policy, and this applies to any Arabian country.

Why is it that those who follow Islam are causing so much of the problems and suffering in the world today. That should tell everyone with a brain cell how worthless with it is.

jedimasterk said,
Why is it that those who follow Islam are causing so much of the problems and suffering in the world today. That should tell everyone with a brain cell how worthless with it is.

This has NOTHING to do with religion.

jedimasterk said,
Why is it that those who follow Islam are causing so much of the problems and suffering in the world today. That should tell everyone with a brain cell how worthless with it is.
these Govs. are not following Isalm , If they did their nations would take the lead as they used to .

jedimasterk said,
Why is it that those who follow Islam are causing so much of the problems and suffering in the world today. That should tell everyone with a brain cell how worthless with it is.

please don't generalize

jedimasterk said,
Why is it that those who follow Islam are causing so much of the problems and suffering in the world today. That should tell everyone with a brain cell how worthless with it is.

Actually I think the people in your group, who follow stupid are the cause of most problems these days.

Brandon said,

This has NOTHING to do with religion.

Well the secular president is getting removed by a Muslim uprising......and America can't complain as that would be going against democracy.

So cutting off the internet in the country will bring them back to the stone ages? Can you see the protesters bearing torches and pitchforks?

SfIsHeR1701 said,
So cutting off the internet in the country will bring them back to the stone ages? Can you see the protesters bearing torches and pitchforks?

Pfft, who needs torches and pitchfolks when you can follow 10,000 B.C.'s lead and use mammoths? /s

Power to the People...

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address
Monday, March 4, 1861

Bugballou said,
Power to the People...

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address
Monday, March 4, 1861

Ya that would be nice except we're talking about Egypt and not the US.

Lexcyn said,

Ya that would be nice except we're talking about Egypt and not the US.


It applies to ANY country. At least it should. The people HAVE the power, not the politicians, not the army, not the police.

TDT said,

It applies to ANY country. At least it should. The people HAVE the power, not the politicians, not the army, not the police.

They once did, all of this is invalid by now. I'd love to see someone try an armed uprising against the US government and see what happens.

TDT said,

It applies to ANY country. At least it should. The people HAVE the power, not the politicians, not the army, not the police.

Sadly it DOESN'T apply to any country. That was said in the US. Even then, like Digitalx said, I would like to see anyone try an armed uprising and see how far that gets you.

Every ideal country should have it, but the implementation takes a very long time and it profound in citizens' heart, which makes the whole process to run through generations.

Lexcyn said,

Sadly it DOESN'T apply to any country. That was said in the US. Even then, like Digitalx said, I would like to see anyone try an armed uprising and see how far that gets you.

Lincoln was espousing the rights ingrained in the Declaration of Independence. At least in America, we believe the right of the people to dictate their form of governance is a universal right. Meaning it applies to EVERY country because the right exists above the powers of government and any other man made institutions. In the days it was written it was considered that Universal Rights were the providence of God, not man. Today we might lack the God portion, but we agree there are rights that exists outside of the power of government (we generally call them Human Rights).

Frazell Thomas said,

In the days it was written it was considered that Universal Rights were the providence of God, not man. Today we might lack the God portion, but we agree there are rights that exists outside of the power of government (we generally call them Human Rights).

Once people started replacing God with government as the ultimate authority, the idea that people had rights separate from what the government allowed kind of went by the wayside.

Frazell Thomas said,

Lincoln was espousing the rights ingrained in the Declaration of Independence. At least in America, we believe the right of the people to dictate their form of governance is a universal right. Meaning it applies to EVERY country because the right exists above the powers of government and any other man made institutions. In the days it was written it was considered that Universal Rights were the providence of God, not man. Today we might lack the God portion, but we agree there are rights that exists outside of the power of government (we generally call them Human Rights).

I'd like to see anyone actually challenge it. Guess what it's left in the hands of a judge who is just a person open to opinions, influences and bias. Politics and industry run the world, and countries within it and not the people. We're merely pawns in their game unless you have a lot of money or affiliations with such rulers. The distance between the people and government in nearly every country is the same as that between the homeless man on the corner and bill gates.

Shadrack said,
You think something similar can't happen in a democracy?

No, but I don't act surprised when it happens in a country that isn't a Democracy..

Also in Democracies that don't run off Fear of __________, should be safe

Shadrack said,

You think something similar can't happen in a democracy?


Then it wouldn't really be a democracy any more, would it?

StarLion said,
I expect CB radios to become very valuable in Egypt shortly...

true that but where will they buy them ? not off ebay.

Inertia said,

true that but where will they buy them ? not off ebay.

Believe it or not you can actually buy stuff without using the internet, shocking I know.

Well I'm sure if they protest in peace and not set stuff on fire it wouldn't give the higher ups no other alternative. Considering acts of violence are the only way many think they have to do to get attention its no wonder this has happened.

sava700 said,
Well I'm sure if they protest in peace and not set stuff on fire it wouldn't give the higher ups no other alternative. Considering acts of violence are the only way many think they have to do to get attention its no wonder this has happened.

yea sure , sit down with a president who have been in power for over 30 years and counting

Well it looks like cyber-warfare is officially here. All I can say is that I'm surprised that it took a decade into the 21st Century for it to happen.

Now that the country is dark it will be very difficult to know what is happening within its borders.

The phones are still working.

Pupik said,

The phones are still working.

What? Phones? What is this thing you speak of? Is it some sort of magical device that allows you to communicate with people far, far away? Or even send them magical messages in text?

Fezmid said,

Cell phones are apparently down:
http://www.alternet.org/newsan...find_new_tools_to_organize/

I'm not sure about landlines, but I know that most people there don't actually have one.


Still, we're in 21th century. News networks (like the BBC or the Arabic Al Jazeera for example) got satellite phones and do broadcast live image and sound through satellite for you to watch and listen in their news reporting. You can relax, because in no way you won't miss any news from Egypt.

Pupik said,

Still, we're in 21th century. News networks (like the BBC or the Arabic Al Jazeera for example) got satellite phones and do broadcast live image and sound through satellite for you to watch and listen in their news reporting. You can relax, because in no way you won't miss any news from Egypt.

Unless they get arrested... like the other day

Pupik said,

Paranoia much?

OMG, this is Egypt we are talking about. Paranoia is unfounded fear of something happening. This fear has a foundation.

Pupik said,

Email me when this is going to be the norm, and not just rare occasion [in a riot].

Dude... They are blocking in and out data to the country with a reason in mind...
God knows what they are ready to do to silence the country...

GS:win