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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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  • 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 h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:45PM (#35027334)

    They do have sham elections, torture people for the USA even and have secret prisons.
    Nice try though.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:46PM (#35027348)
    video [youtube.com] news [anonnews.org] guidance [guardian.co.uk]
  • by PopCulture (536272) <PopCulture&hotmail,com> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:04PM (#35027544)
    we also had decade+ long war without cause, open "legalized" torture of prisoners of war, corporate malfeasance robbing millions of their retirements and life savings, etc. etc. etc. qatar had none of that.
  • by crono_deus (796899) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:35PM (#35027826)
    I'm an Egyptian who had the great luck of being born and raised in the States and many, many opportunities to go back home and visit.

    From what I've gathered, the Muslim Brotherhood is a shadow of their former selves; they were really big in the 80s and 90s, but they've lost direction and momentum. I think that they're currently just a specter straw-man that Mubarak and the Egyptian government likes to throw up to help keep the opposition in check.

    In other words, they're Egypt's Al-Qaeda, a great excuse for a dictator to keep clenching his iron fist.

    I went back there last December to see my cousin get married. Most Egyptians I spoke about politics -- there are elections coming up soon and it's a topic everyone wants to talk about -- seem to want very little to do with the Brotherhood; they blame them for a good number of terrorist and don't want them anywhere near positions of power.

    I don't deny that there's a risk in open elections -- certainly, you run the risk of electing kooks and crazies in every election. I just don't think the Brotherhood is as terrifying a specter as we think they are. At least, not any more. Have a little faith in the Egyptian people.

  • Re:ham radio (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pjpII (191291) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:39PM (#35027854) Homepage

    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 REALLY losing legitimacy) when people will be gathered together already (and thus able to communicate.)

  • Re:HAM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:56PM (#35027988) Homepage
    Back in the old, old days there was this software called "SLIP" that was developed by Hams around the world. It stood for "Serial Line Internet Protocol" and was one of the first packages that let people connect to the Internet via their home modems. This was before PPP. SLIP was developed so Hams could transmit IP packets wirelessly around the world. Hm, wireless IP, I wonder where I've heard that before...
  • by kbahey (102895) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:34PM (#35028270) Homepage

    I will give you the vote part. We do have voting in Egypt, but the elections are predetermined, with a combination of ballot stuffing, intimidation and exclusion.

    Decent life is what we are after. So on that I agree too.

    Now regarding women and education, you are wrong. Orders of magnitudes wrong. My mother, who is in her late 70s now got a higher degree back in the 50s. Two of my maternal aunts got masters degrees and then PhDs (one from the USA, the other from Japan). Two of my aunts from my paternal sides got bachelors degrees and worked too. My wife is a computer engineer.

    Should I go on?

  • by nigeljw (1968314) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:52PM (#35028378)

    This is a practical guide for the Egyptians to set up a new independent network. For the instructions, skip to below the story.

    I live on a Island, Newfoundland, on which the first transatlantic wireless telegraph was communicated to Cornwall, England.

    I grew up driving all around the Island on the weekends with my Dad installing and servicing satellite up-links. It is his own business so he worked six or seven days a week when Newfoundland's economy was in the pits. His company has since become successful, even though wired communication companies always criticize the strength of satellite signals (which is bullshit, I always get very clean signals in a city with a huge amount of snow). He also does work in other electrical systems (power meters, wireless wide area networks, etc.). He has also always kept the same raggedy tag crew for his employees, who are a great group of people. Instead of reducing the salaries of his employees during the recession, he instead made up for the loss out of his paycheck. I am proud of my dad. I am sure my mother is proud of him as well in heaven. When I was younger, I liked to look at my Dad as a futuristic Marconi. I have since become a seasoned software developer myself.

    Instructions:

    The first thing I would do to establish a truly independent internet in Egypt is to set up a wide area network all around Cairo. Wireless towers throughout the city. Redundancy here is key, since if the government destroys some towers, others will still be online. The antennae only have to be separated by about 30 meters. The towers can easily be crafted since the antennae are lightweight.

    The hardware that is needed are a two WiLan radios for a point to point network. Omni directional antennae are needed for short range hub regions for the end user connections, and more powerful directional antennae are needed for long range point to point connections, plus any relay stations require two directional antennae (incoming and outgoing) and a repeater. Two RF connectors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RF_connector [wikipedia.org]) for each high grade coaxial cable. The towers are easily constructed out of steel. Cable cutters and proper crimping tools are a must (substitutes could be found). Wrenches: 9/16, and 3/4. A power meter is required to read the signal while peaking (positioning) and polarizing (rotating) the dish. You hook up the leads to the core of the cable and the outer shield.

    Satellite up-links are required to connect this localized network to the outside world. Earth station hardware should not be that difficult to find. Here in Newfoundland, almost all gas stations use earth stations for their Interac communications. I set most of them up myself when I was working before I went to university. Any large and small commercial cable satellite dishes can be used as down-link stations to transmit incoming information.

    The hardware needed are a RF Head (Telesat here in Canada make high quality transmission, I'd say Qualcomm make them as well) and a Hughes PES 5000 (I highly recommend this model, PES stands for personal earth station.). Two RF connectors are required to connect the coaxial cable between the RF Head and the PES. To peak the dish, a power meter is required. It is a similar process as for directional wireless antennae. An inclinometer is required to set the elevation, though this could be done by site. Down-links can be set up with only an LNB, which is a specialized/simplified type of RF Head that only allows for incoming signals (low noise block used with any commercial tv satellite). Down-links generally do not need to be polarized since they do not transmit and only receive. Always peak the dish with the transmit function off, then turn on the transmit function and polarize the RF Head, by rotating its body. Never stand in front of the dish when the transmit function is on. Its not necessarily that harmful, but it can disrupt the communications for other satellites if a transmit radio wave is bouncin

  • by kozubik (969276) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:25AM (#35028884)

    The Egyptian authorities have the ability to shut down free speech in 2011, but turning off the Internet is not enough - they must completely halt modern commerce.

    Since they are not, as far as I can imagine, performing mass jamming of the 2.4ghz spectrum, anyone with a laptop and "wi-fi" connectivity has everything they need to conduct insurrection. This concept is known as "Free Speech or Stone Age":

    http://blog.kozubik.com/john_kozubik/2009/06/free-speech-or-stone-age.html [kozubik.com]

    Unless you remove the general purpose tools of modern commerce, filtering (or even disabling) the Internet will not stop speech.

  • by imsabbel (611519) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:58AM (#35029664)

    You might be too young to know, but modems are good for more than connecting to ISPs. You can create data connections to other persons, forming a shadow network.

    Something like Fidonet with its node/point structure could be made pretty much unkillable even in such a situation unless the state would kill ALL communications.

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