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Egypt Shuts Off All Internet Access 840

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-call-their-skype-accounts? dept.
h00manist writes "Several sources are reporting Egypt has shut off all Internet access. There is still no official confirmation. Blackberry, twitter and SMS seem confirmed off. So, if you were there, what would you do to get communications for everyone? Do you still have a POTS modem?"
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Egypt Shuts Off All Internet Access

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  • HAM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:18PM (#35027074)

    Seems like this is the moment the HAM radio folks always shine. I don't know what kind of following they've got in Egypt but I imagine it'd be pretty useful. That and texting.

  • Ham radio (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mapuche (41699) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:20PM (#35027082) Homepage

    This works until the soldiers come for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:20PM (#35027094)

    We still had revolutions before the internet. What do they really think this will accomplish? If anything depriving these good people of essential services will just be like throwing petrol on a fire...

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:22PM (#35027108)

    Do you still have a POTS modem?

    Even if you have a dial-up modem, what are you going to connect to? Call the US and connect to AOL?

  • by juicegg (1683626) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:22PM (#35027110)
    It happened immediately after this was posted: http://video.ap.org/?f=None&pid=oT7qj_wiVHTbYae3scwok4_irYjJ2R8Z [ap.org] (warning: disturbing)
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:24PM (#35027132) Homepage

    Doesn't this make you want to have an internet kill switch in the US?

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      I would be really surprised if we don't already have one.

      • I would be really surprised if we don't already have one.

        While I too don't entirely doubt that there's a means of cutting off all outbound communications from the USA (even sending orbiting satellites into 'sleep' mode would hamper communications pretty effectively), the flip side is that the government hasn't yet stated that there is, and by pulling it, they acknowledge they have it. It's a bomb they can only ever drop once, lest the entire structure of the internet change to work around it, and 'pirate isps' start popping up that are beyond their control.

  • Blackberry too (Score:5, Informative)

    by cranky_chemist (1592441) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:25PM (#35027138)

    According to the LA Times, they've blocked the Blackberries, too.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/01/blackberry-internet-blocked-in-egypt.html [latimes.com]

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:28PM (#35027176) Journal

    I'm sure that nobody will be angry or suspicious about the internet going dark. I expect nothing but butterflies and rainbows from this.

  • by zill (1690130) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:29PM (#35027178)
    Satellite [iridium.com] ISPs [globstar.com] may be expansive, but they are the only solution in extreme cases such as this one.
  • by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:33PM (#35027208)

    I wrote the following back in 2006. At the time, I was mostly writing about the invasion of Iraq, and the saber-rattling with Iran, but it turns out to say a lot about other places too.

    ==================

    Suppose, for the moment, that spreading American values — by which I mean democracy, freedom of expression, and social mobility — throughout the globe is a good idea. How do we achieve that?

    Let’s take a look at our enemies, and see what they fear about the U.S. Yes, our military might is kinda scary, but we’ve shown again and again that as a nation we lack the commitment (by which I mean “tyrannical jack-booted disregard for human life”) to use it effectively. What else have we got? A giant market economy focusing mostly on communication, entertainment, personal expression, and self-improvement, which the world’s dictators, religious fanatics, and thugs see as hedonistic, socially disruptive, and downright insidious.

    Damn right it’s insidious. And we ought to be insidiating like crazy. The requirements for democracy and social mobility are communication, a sense of personal self-worth, and an active free-market economy. Our pop culture, and the stuff we sell, are our best tools for sneaking these values into societies, under the noses of the dictators and the zealots.

    What better tools for personal expression than the cell phone and the Internet blog? What better way to get uncensored information about the world than the satellite dish? What better tools for demonstrating the joy of self-determination than the hit TV show and the Hollywood blockbuster? What better role model for oppressed women than the stars of CSI and ER? Hell, what better role model for what a police force should be than CSI? And what better motivation for starting your own business (black-market or legit), for getting a leg up, than the need to pay for all this crap?

    Maybe the Cold War wasn’t won by geopolitics. Maybe it was won by black-market Levi’s blue jeans and bootleg copies of “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. Maybe our best hope for eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat isn’t B-2s dropping bombs, but FedEx cargo planes dropping cell phones and laptops. Actually, the world is doing a pretty good job in bombing Iran’s youth with pop culture; maybe all we need to do is sit back, sell more phones, and wait for their oppressive government to be swept aside, or simply ignored and rendered obsolete, by the new Coke generation.

    *That’s* what they fear about us. Not that we’ll bomb them into oblivion, but that their own kids, raised on our pop culture, will vote them off the island.

    ================

    I want to emphasize that this is about spreading American *values*, not American hegemony. The Egyptian riots are a problem for America as an empire, but if we play it right it can be a huge win for American ideals.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:07PM (#35027572)

      Thomas Jefferson said the same thing almost 200 years ago. The US will be an example to the rest of the world of how a free people can prosper and enjoy life, and people around the globe will rise-up and throw-off their shackles.

      The only part of the equation he was missing was the use of books, movies, and music as the enticement to make people say, "I want what the US has."

  • by headkase (533448) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:37PM (#35027256)
    Or in today's language: the revolution will not be tweeted.

    Does anyone think it is still a good idea to give the President an "Internet Kill Switch"?
    Really, those in power tend to cling to it even if their forms are outmoded for the population they rule. I think our democracies only grow stronger through a little unrest and political replacement every once in a while. What do you think?
  • I knew it- (Score:5, Funny)

    by gearloos (816828) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:39PM (#35027270)
    See what happens when you download too many copies of "The Mummy" ?
  • ham radio (Score:5, Informative)

    by molo (94384) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:39PM (#35027272) Journal

    There's a couple options here. POTS modem is a decent choice for data, until it gets blocked. Satellite internet should work also, but could be subject to jamming. Shortwave radio to listen to international broadcasts (BBC World Service, VOA, Deutsche Welle, etc.) is a good option for receiving information and news. They could still jam broadcasters that they don't like (but hard to get all of them).

    Ham radio would be the best option, as it doesn't depend on anyone else's infrastructure, and equipment can be run from 12V batteries. Many frequency bands to choose from to avoid interference or jamming. Many digital modes can be used to relay articles, some with forward error correction. Voice modes are available for those without digital interfaces. Can be short range to arrange local protests if needed (VHF/UHF), possibly with a handheld transceiver. It can be long range on the HF bands (shortwave), potentially communicating over thousands of miles and across borders.

    -molo

    • by Thing 1 (178996)
      Seems like any sort of "broadcast" method would be subject to detection. We need to launch a satellite that others can point at to "narrowcast", and avoid detection. Okay, now I'm on a watch list(tm).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pjpII (191291)

      It currently looks like people are switching to more old fashioned means and using leaflets [guardian.co.uk] and word of mouth. Hold in mind that though Cairo, and many other Arab capitals are gigantic, they are often much more similar to a huge collection of small towns where everyone knows everyone (and everyone's business). Taking out the internet seems like a particularly desperate act, especially since the protests are expected to begin following Friday prayer (which the government can't forbid completely without REALL

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:46PM (#35027348)
    video [youtube.com] news [anonnews.org] guidance [guardian.co.uk]
  • by emm-tee (23371) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:47PM (#35027366)
    The United States likes dictators if they serve it's interests. [csmonitor.com]
  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:52PM (#35027422) Homepage

    I love hearing this. In fact, I hope more countries undergoing political unrest opt to shut off 'net access. Specifically I'm hoping for similar occurrences in places like Syria, Pakistan. Go ahead and try getting your internet kill switch bill passed then ya jackasses. Every political talking head will blaze up a nice firestorm while the chickenshits dive for cover.

    I just wish there was a way to help.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:06PM (#35027558) Homepage

    There are major outages, but the entire country of Egypt is not off line. Cairo is hard to reach, but Alexandria seems to be up via some routes. Delay on the last link to the Alexandria gateway is about 70ms.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:24PM (#35027706)
    Before, you would have had SOME young Egyptians quietly staying at home and wanking off... now you're going to have ALL of them out in the streets!
  • BGPMon Analysis (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:26PM (#35027742)

    There is a quick look BGP level analysis available from BGPMon [bgpmon.net]. Except for Noor Data Networks, the number of announced address blocks is way down. This means that most Egyptian IP addresses are now not reachable from the rest of the world.

    Here is BGPMon on the dating of the outage :

    At this point egypt.gov.eg is offline. This network, 81.21.104.0/24 was withdrawn at January 27th at 22:28 UTC . Another example is www.ahram.org.eg an Egyptian news paper. This network 196.219.246.0/24, became unreachable at the exact same time, January 27th at 22:28 UTC.

    I think that it is safe to assume that this outage is related to the big protests planned for tomorrow.

  • by kbahey (102895) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:39PM (#35028294) Homepage

    Here is what I wrote earlier today Views from an Egyptian [slashdot.org].

    Mod it up if you think it is informative.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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