Egypt left in the dark as government imposes internet blackout
Friday 28 January 2011
Reports are rolling in that the Egyptian government has "ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet," essentially cutting Egypt off from the rest of the world.
The government has been intermittently blocking Google and social networking services Twitter and Facebook since earlier in the week in an attempt to deter people from participating in organized protests, but it is the first time that a government has attempted to "shut down the internet" within their country.
Technology blog Read Write Web reports that text messages and Research In Motion's Blackberry messaging service have also been blocked.
"Some reports indicate landlines are down," said the blog in a January 27 post, adding that "Further reports indicate Vodaphone will be shutting down mobile service and Facebook videos uploaded by those who retain Internet connection are getting deleted."
"[E]very Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world," says internet intelligence authority Renesys, which has been tracking the web connections in Egypt.
"What's different in this case as compared to other 'similar' cases is that all of the major ISP's seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as facebook and twitter were typically blocked," said internet monitoring company BGPmon in a January 28 report.
According to Renesys' January 27 post, virtually all of Egypt's internet addresses are now unreachable from outside the country.
"The Egyptian government's actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map," commented Renesys.
The global Internet population turned to social media to vent their frustrations at the Egyptian government tweeting, "unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian gov't... shut down all international connections to the Internet," "Egyptian gov has cut off internet, 3g, sms, and even some mobile phone service for cairo as well as most of the rest of the country, damn," "seems like the Egyptian dictatorship has forgotten that revolutions have happened way before @Twitter and texting" and "If your government shuts down the internet, shut down your government #jan25."
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