Egyptian shutdown of ISPs cost $40 million

As the world erupted in protest over the Egyptian shutdown of Internet connectivity during the protests of the last week or so, many fail to realize how much this disruption of day-to-day economic activity is actually going to cost the country. According to NetworkWorld, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) claims that the five day period of little to no Internet connectivity cost the country approximately US$90 million.  This is based on a factor of the total GDP of Egypt, of which Internet services make up 3-4%.

However, that’s just present costs. When a government shuts off connectivity for a couple of days, the overall perception of national stability and reliability of foreign connectivity drops like a rock, setting up unneeded barriers to entry for incoming firms.

This sudden loss of connectivity to an entire country, a heretofore never observed phenomena, will be studied for years to come, as researchers and economists continue to analyze the damage that Egypt have wreaked upon its people, its economy, and its reputation.

Talks of a US kill-switch for the Internet have been making the rounds over the past few months, and Egypt’s sudden and forceful reaction to civilian protests will undoubtedly be used as a political countermeasure against those in favor of giving government ultimate control of the ISPs in an emergency.

Image Credit: Huffington Post

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23 Comments

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we're actually working on this new government, almost all ministers are changed,
but 40 million is not a big deal now, there are much more loss than just that.
some people could restore some stolen stuff from shops worth 100 millions
but the new government seems quite good and they have to work fast and fine if they want to avoid more disasters
i hope thing will be fine
pray for us

From what I understand the US government is backing off on the kill switch idea and is reconsidering the proposal. Ultimately I believe they don't want this to be something that can be abused but rather use it in extreme emergencies. I do not want this to be a censorship tool or a means of holding back rebellion as egypt used it but I do believe there could be a use for it. One would be a means against a cyberattack on a massive scale.

Here are articles though where egypt's choice to cut off the internet made an impact here.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/gove...-kill-switch-heres-why/9982
http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20030332-281.html

And a petition going against it that I'm all for.
http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/killswitch/

i wonder who the genius was who thought of shutting it down

I think if the US ever turns us off, the whole world will shut down. (maybe?)

Quick Shot said,
i wonder who the genius was who thought of shutting it down

I think if the US ever turns us off, the whole world will shut down. (maybe?)


Most of the big sites (based in the US) would but some, like google, have international sites which would stay up.
T8

Quick Shot said,
i wonder who the genius was who thought of shutting it down

I think if the US ever turns us off, the whole world will shut down. (maybe?)


yeah that would be a global recession

TangoEight said,

Most of the big sites (based in the US) would but some, like google, have international sites which would stay up.
T8

which rely on their main servers for routing and data distribution from US servers, same for Microsoft. Only linux will stay connected as they have nodes all over the earth.
Apple, MS, Google, they all got their distribution from US servers, even requesting for example google.fr goes through US servers.

Shadowzz said,

which rely on their main servers for routing and data distribution from US servers, same for Microsoft. Only linux will stay connected as they have nodes all over the earth.
Apple, MS, Google, they all got their distribution from US servers, even requesting for example google.fr goes through US servers.

Only linux?
Come back when you've passed a basic computing course.

n_K said,

Only linux?
Come back when you've passed a basic computing course.

Come back when you've passed a non-flaming course.

Rudy said,
Hopefully it will get the US to reconsider their "kill-switch"
The worst thing about a kill-switch is it would slow internet access down for everyone in the US or everyone accessing websites hosted in the US due to congestion at the kill-switch location. Not only is it a bad idea in general, its also a bad idea when looking at the technological side.

Nagisan said,
The worst thing about a kill-switch is it would slow internet access down for everyone in the US or everyone accessing websites hosted in the US due to congestion at the kill-switch location. Not only is it a bad idea in general, its also a bad idea when looking at the technological side.

Exactly. One of the fundamental design requirements of the Internet (one that the military required) was that it would not rely on a single node. If a node goes down traffic is automatically routed through other nodes seamlessly. An effective 'kill switch' would have to disrupt this original design requirement and would not be efficient.

Rudy said,
Hopefully it will get the US to reconsider their "kill-switch"

It's unfortunate that none of these posters seem to understand the WHY behind the kill switch legislation.

McG said,

It's unfortunate that none of these posters seem to understand the WHY behind the kill switch legislation.
You act as if there is a good reason to bottleneck the internet in a country to a single point that the government can shut off at any time.

If you have a reason to think it is a good thing, please do explain, otherwise don't bother posting.

I do not recall the legislation stating that it has to be at a single node.

The kill switch can be relayed to switch off as many nodes as it wants.

ekw said,
I do not recall the legislation stating that it has to be at a single node.

The kill switch can be relayed to switch off as many nodes as it wants.

It's still going to force connections through specific nodes, be it one or 10, my point is that adds an extra contact point that all connections going to and from the US will need to travel through.

More contact points = lower speeds and higher latencies, therefore adding a kill switch, unless designed to work with all current and future nodes sitting between the US and other countries, would slow down the internet as a whole.

Nagisan said,
It's still going to force connections through specific nodes, be it one or 10, my point is that adds an extra contact point that all connections going to and from the US will need to travel through.

More contact points = lower speeds and higher latencies, therefore adding a kill switch, unless designed to work with all current and future nodes sitting between the US and other countries, would slow down the internet as a whole.


I'd imagine that it would just be a protocol installed on the controller for the nodes. It really is just a simple command to shut down nodes, something the ISPs already have (to be used for maintenance). There really isn't any negative impact regarding to performance if this goes through.

Perhaps you are assuming that the govt will monitor all traffic through a single node and possibly censor it before it leaves the country? then yes, that would significantly impact performance.

McG said,

It's unfortunate that none of these posters seem to understand the WHY behind the kill switch legislation.
enlighten us

McG said,

It's unfortunate that none of these posters seem to understand the WHY behind the kill switch legislation.

I can't wait to hear this. I'm sure I won't though.

Rudy said,
enlighten us

+1

Anyway, MAYBE there was some basis for an internet kill switch before the Egypt Riots, but now that we see how badly this effected there economy and how it will effect it for years to come, how is there any reason to have the switch. If it hurt Egypt where internet is not as common as in the USA, wouldn't the kill-switch cripple the USA's economy if used?

De.Bug said,

+1

Anyway, MAYBE there was some basis for an internet kill switch before the Egypt Riots, but now that we see how badly this effected there economy and how it will effect it for years to come, how is there any reason to have the switch. If it hurt Egypt where internet is not as common as in the USA, wouldn't the kill-switch cripple the USA's economy if used?

the only reason I can think of is that because of the disastrous effect is could be an internet equivalent of a doomsday device. The sheer terror of having one prevents countries from launching a cyber attack. the world economy would collapse if us internet is killed for a week! this would china (as a possible attacker) about as much as the us.

This is pretty far outside the box but i can think of no other reason to implement a kill switch. almost no country is an island that can live without internet.