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Egypt Shuts Off All Internet Access 840

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 @09:18PM (#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 @09:20PM (#35027082) Homepage

    This works until the soldiers come for you.

  • by Baseclass ( 785652 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:20PM (#35027086)
    I've always considered Egypt to be on of the more progressive muslim states
    Apparently I was mistaken.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:20PM (#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 MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:24PM (#35027132) Homepage

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

  • by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:26PM (#35027152)

    you wouldn't be reading Slashdot, and thus wouldn't be able to answer the question of "what would you do if you were there"...

    The question wasn't: "If you were there, how would you answer this question."

    It was: What would you do if you were in Egypt and found that your connection had been cut off.

    Me, I'd shout the packets.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:28PM (#35027168)

    So pretty much like the rest of the world?
    Most of the world is like that you know.

  • Just remember this (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:28PM (#35027172)

    When Obama or the next fascist President wants an "Internet Kill Switch".

  • by zill ( 1690130 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:29PM (#35027178)
    Satellite [] ISPs [] may be expansive, but they are the only solution in extreme cases such as this one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:29PM (#35027182)

    Just keep in mind, President Obama is now seeking additional powers to give him the ability to shut off the Internet in the United States in the event of an "emergency".

    We seem to be getting closer to States such as Egypt faster than they are becoming like us.

  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:33PM (#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 Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:35PM (#35027226) Journal

    If I was in Egypt, I'd be pretty pissed at them canceling my circuses and would probably go out and break stuff.

  • by headkase ( 533448 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:37PM (#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?
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:38PM (#35027262)

    Qatar is a Monarchy. They might be progressive compared to Saudi Arabia, but that is setting the bar mighty low.

  • by Exclamation mark! ( 1961328 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:40PM (#35027280)
    That's ok, the press and most scientists do it all the time
  • by hnangelo ( 1098127 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:41PM (#35027292)
    And by progressive you just mean they let most of them live. Christians in Egypt are in a pretty bad situation with Muslims shooting them when they are leaving church and stuff like that. Also, trying to convince someone to convert is a crime (death penalty if I am not mistaken), unless you are converting them to Islam.
  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:43PM (#35027318)

    You overlooked Turkey which wants to become a State of the EU, and has to prove itself to be tolerant of other religions and basic human rights (as required by the Lisbon Treaty).

    And YES I have a POTS modem, but it isn't much good without the internet. It would connect to my ISP and then have no website to access. And of course all the old BBSes I used to call directly have disappeared.

    Some of the old Usenet and Fidonet newsgroup BBSes might still be alive, but I have no idea what their phone numbers are.

  • by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:43PM (#35027320) Homepage Journal

    There. Is no such thing as a progressive muslim state. They are all horrendous in one form or another. Human rights, crime, despotism, corruption, justice, the works.

    The reality of Egypt is that the choices are grim and grimmer; support Mubarek, and you support an oppressive regime. It may be an iron fist in a velvet glove, but the fist is still made of iron. However, if you support real democratic elections in Egypt, then you're almost certainly going to get an Iranian-style theocracy that'll never have real elections again. And that's the way the vast majority of Egyptians want it. Take away the secular despot, and you're almost guaranteed to get a country run by the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:43PM (#35027324)

    you wouldn't be reading Slashdot, and thus wouldn't be able to answer the question of "what would you do if you were there"...

    "what would you do if you were there."

    You see it's the 'if' that makes the assumption that you are *not* there - which obviously can be made given that if you were there you likely wouldn't be reading this - therefore making this a hypothetical [] question.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:44PM (#35027330)

    This is why we need a real media, instead of following the current trend of bloggers covering news while the established media cover entertainment and punditry. Because without real reporters over there, there's no way to figure out what happened during a blackout. Local bloggers can be cut off, and when the lights come back on, who's to say what happened? Whereas disappearing a reporter for the NY Times would just invite more scrutiny.

    Of course, it's all contingent on the established media putting aside their profit margins for a moment. Reporters are expensive, and don't get the ratings that star watches and manufactured controversy pull in.

  • by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) <clipper377&gmail,com> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:52PM (#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 Goboxer ( 1821502 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:53PM (#35027428)
    Can you have a truly progressive state if it has heavy and deep ties to a religion? There are several states and religions that come to mind...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:56PM (#35027462)

    No one wants the internet kill switch, that much is certain. But WOW are you a moron for implying fascism in Obama or "the next fascist President". You think GWB wouldn't be lobbying for an internet kill switch right now too? Yeah f*cking right.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:57PM (#35027464) Homepage Journal
    This has nothing to do with "religion" per se and everything to do with political power. They aren't cutting off the internet to prevent "Draw Muhammed Day", they are cutting it off to try to prevent a Tunisia style rebellion.
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:57PM (#35027468)

    Oh noes! The Cultural Imperialism, they will end up being able to vote, have women that are educated and maybe even the Joe Sixpack of Egypt would be able to live a pretty decent life. Some peoples cultures suck, face it.

  • by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:02PM (#35027516)

    >There. Is no such thing as a progressive muslim state. Qatar. i lived there for a few years. less human rights violations, crime, despotism, corruption, justice irregularities than the USA under george w. bush. the facts are hard to swallow, but there you are.

    How do you figure an ABSOLUTE MONARCHY has less despotism than a country under a freely elected president (along with with a freely elected legislative branch) who peacefully gave up office when his term was over. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the actual concept of absolute power despotism requires but it generally doesn't involve being beholden to elections, term limits and an elected legislative branch but instead all power is concentrated in a single unopposed entity sort of like....Qatar? I know everyone hates bush and all, but more then 50% of the voters voted for him in 2004 and voters choosing the "wrong" choice does not despotism make. I know that fact is hard to swallow but there you are.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:03PM (#35027532) Homepage Journal

    We should find out which companies bowed before the dictators. Looks like Vodaphoe is one of them.

    When a truckload of soldiers show up at your NOC with automatic weapons and politely ask you to pull the plug, you do

    You can't blame the ISPs for this. In cases like this the soldiers usually have orders to turn their weapons on the racks if the ISP refuses to cooperate. One way or another, you will cooperate.

  • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:05PM (#35027554) Journal

    All Americans are fat and stupid. There. Can I please have my post modded up again now?
    Or do I have to make a stupid generalization about someone else? Like Chinese? Brits? Zie Germans?

    COME ON!
    I too want to be modded +5 Insightful for being a generalizing asshole who pigeonholes millions of people and their cultures into degrading *caricatures of themselves.

    *caricatures are like an exaggerated cartoon of someone, where he looks funny... and then we laugh at him cause he is funny looking.

  • by Chaos Incarnate ( 772793 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:06PM (#35027560) Homepage
    And that's stopped Congress... when?
  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:12PM (#35027622) Journal

    I would agree, except you are wrong. To date, there is no moderate Muslim state. You are talking about individuals, he is talking about institutions.

    This isn't a slam against Islam, it is a slam against the governments that profess to follow Islam. He is correct, there is no progressive Muslim state. You only have two kinds of Muslim states in todays world: Oppressive, and Very Oppressive. As soon as the people start speaking out in any way, they ratchet up the oppression, like every other Muslim state. The problem isn't the religion, it is using the religion as a basis for a government.

    And before someone says "Turkey", they aren't a Muslim state, they are a secular state with a predominantly Muslim population.

    Sorry, but you aren't nearly as funny as a few hurried moderators think you are.

  • by pjpII ( 191291 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:14PM (#35027636) Homepage

    There. Is no such thing as a progressive muslim state. They are all horrendous in one form or another. Human rights, crime, despotism, corruption, justice, the works.

    Jesus, where to even start with this modded "Insightful" and the other terrible comments coming off it.

    First, all the issues you cite, "Human rights, crime, despotism, corruption, justice, the works" characterize the vast majority of countries outside of Western Europe (and you can include the Commonwealth in that) and North America, and don't correlate per se with states with majority Muslim populations any more than it correlates with years since the end of colonization or national GDP (and obviously probably much much less.) Most of those "more progressive" states have had quite a good amount of time to develop as nation states and many have had similar human rights problems in the past (e.g. much of Eastern Europe, Spain), while most of the Middle Eastern and North African countries are still one or two major regimes off of colonialism. So you have made a false equivalence of Muslim majority state=horrendous when there are exceptions on both sides of that equation.

    Furthermore, in many of the "worst" states, the governments have been aggressively secular, since they were run by minority groups (Syria, Iraq before the fall of Saddamn) and were not particularly "Islamic" in character.

    As for another poster who wonders whether they have honor killings, not so much, that tends to be in the Levant, and is a cultural rather than a religious ideal per se. Egypt does have issues with "female circumcision" (or whatever you want to call it) but again it's a cultural rather than religious practice.

    None of that is pertinent to what's going on, though.

    What is important is that these are incredibly courageous youth going out into the streets and facing who knows what - recent videos have shown what appears to be snipers firing on protesters, and one thing that has contributed to this movement has been videos of police brutally torturing prisoners - in the hope of changing their situation. They are putting their money where their mouths are, and are defying death to make themselves heard. This is a government that is willing to shut off an entire country's internet access, with all that entails for the economy and communication, to keep people from gather together, a basic right in many countries in the world. Coptic Christians are standing beside Muslims and asking for change - one of the main chants is "al-halaal wa-ya saliib did al-qatal wa-t-ta`dhiib" "Cross and Crescent against torture and murder."

    So lets stop making meaningless and false generalizations, and asking kind of silly questions about culture, and support a people trying to win back their freedoms, something that should appeal quite highly to the Slashdot crowd.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:25PM (#35027724)

    Not so. To some degree, the term "Muslim state" is a misnomer. There are places like Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, all with varying degrees of public participation in government, and histories of suppression. Some are pretty dangerous, like Iran. Some seem secular, but are very willing to exploit indigenous peoples (Turkey and the Kurds and Armenians) as an example. But the US has done it, too, as a healthy portion of states have indigenous peoples reservations.

    There are lots of Muslims in Germany, but not enough to make a change in government. In Lebanon, it's been a mixed bag for decades now. For a short time, Lebanon was the beacon of multi-religious tolerance, Christian, Muslim, Druze, etc. Now, Hezbollah is calling the shots, perhaps firing them, too.

    Some Muslims argue that other ostensible Islamic factions aren't Muslim, are infidels, and treat them accordingly. It's a mess.

  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:25PM (#35027728) Journal

    The Iranians will have real elections again, we just slowed down their progress.

    That is the point that is lost of our government. At some point, the US govt. (MY govt) needs to learn when to get the fuck out of the business of trying to run other countries, and let the citizens figure it out on their own. I may take a couple of lifetimes, but our history is flooded with us interfering with other countries, and it always backfiring.

    And no, I'm not an idealistic kid. I'm in my 40s, ex military, and the son of retired military. It would also be nice if our military was used for defense, instead of nation building after we destroy the country to begin with.

  • Re:HAM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by devilspgd ( 652955 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:37PM (#35027840) Homepage

    Oh well, if it's prohibited then I'm sure /no one/ will lie about their call sign while trying to evade a gov't ban on communication.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:54PM (#35027968)
    until we bombed them into the stone age. Other than that I think he's pretty much spot on. Saudi Arabia's a hell hole for everyone except the super wealthy. Iran's not a nice place to be either. Afghanistan & Pakistan have rampant poverty & drug violence. I guess there's Israel. I know damn little about them so they could be progressive, probably are.
  • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:55PM (#35027978) Journal

    One where there are many Muslims?
    Well, is a Germany a Muslim state? Plenty of Turkish Muslims there? How 'bout France with all them Algerians?
    Or all those Muslims don't really count, cause they are not TRUE Muslims? []

    Or are you talking about countries run by sharia law?
    Egypt is a "semi-presidential republic" [] where religious parties are illegal. []

    Or let's turn that around... Which western countries (excluding Vatican) are Christian? And please, specify which denomination.
    Or how about simply - is America Catholic, Protestant or Mormon? Come on... we all know that all that secular bullshit is just for show.
    Come on... Who's their Cloud Daddy?

  • by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:22PM (#35028194)

    You: "Or are you talking about countries run by sharia law?"

    Why not?
    An Overview of the Egyptian Legal System and Legal Research [] by Dr. Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab:

    "The Egyptian legal system is built on the combination of Islamic (Shariah) law and Napoleonic Code, which was first introduced during Napoleon Bonaparteâ(TM)s occupation of Egypt and the subsequent education and training of Egyptian jurists in France. ...
    According to the 1980 amendment of the Constitution, Islamic Law (Sharia) became the principal source of legislative rules. Such wording simply implies that any new law that is being enacted or considered for enactment should not be in contravention of any prevailing principles of Islamic Law (Sharia). ...
    Prior to the 1980 amendment, Islamic Law (Sharia) was merely a source, amongst other sources, for legislative rules."

    So what was your point?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:31PM (#35028256)

    Which all occurred in a country where power ultimately vests with the population. No President could survive if the American people were significantly against them and the actions they undertook (or allowed to be undertaken). Yet the President who initiated the war was re-elected by the people, and demands for those who authorised and carried out torture came from only a few.

    You aren't being oppressed by a tyranical government. You're simply experiencing the joy of a large-scale democracy: most people don't give a crap about things that don't directly affect them, and are often ill-informed about the things that do.

    The things you're complaining about are happening because most of the population permits it.

  • On the upside (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:01AM (#35028422) Homepage Journal
    Every Egyptian has been spared the possibility of reading that moronic post.
  • by Rob Riggs ( 6418 ) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:49AM (#35028690) Homepage Journal
    You could have just said 'When next President wants an "Internet Kill Switch"' but you had to make it about your political views and not the larger, more important issue. This is a real problem with discourse in the U.S. these days. It is about "which side you are on" and not the discussion of the big issues. I think most citizens agree that an "Internet Kill Switch" is a very bad idea. But our problems keep getting worse because we are constantly distracted by political nonsense and polarizing language and cannot focus on the issue at hand. Let's focus on what's important.
  • by mr100percent ( 57156 ) on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:05AM (#35029456) Homepage Journal

    You're missing my point. Bush was pretty exceptional in that he called for democratization and then gave even more support to the despots than usual. Bush announced his change in foreign policy to work for more Arab democratization, and then when Egypt arrested all the people who dared run on the ballot against Mubarak, Condileeza Rice pretty much did nothing. Uzbekistan had a large human rights scandal where the police boiled a man to death and the government opened fire on protestors. However, Uzbekistan was a necessary partner for its airbase that could supply Afghanistan, so the US pretended it didn't happen.

    You're listing Tunisia as a counterexample, when I don't think it belongs there. Had these protests happened under Bush, he would probably have backed Ben Ali, "our vital partner in the war on terror." Want proof? Bush supported Musharraf to the hilt until the very end, which seriously damaged the US image in the country. (Pakistanis loved the US before Bush, as opinion polls show) When the pro-democracy forces took over again, they were angry that the US had been blatantly blocking democracy and rule of law in their country.

    Obama did a lot of good, including in recent coup places like Honduras. Here's hoping he can undo the rest of the damage.

  • Re:HAM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday January 28, 2011 @07:31AM (#35030262)

    if it's prohibited then I'm sure /no one/ will lie about their call sign while trying to evade a gov't ban on communication.

    What's the use of lying about their call sign when they are sending a signal that points straight at their transmitter antenna? []

  • by boxwood ( 1742976 ) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:35AM (#35031020)

    Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner?

    Democracy just isn't just about voting its about human rights too. Otherwise you can simply intimidate a large percentage of the population, kill all members of opposition parties and get elected. Is that still democracy? Well technically, a party that uses these tactics got the most votes, so I guess anything they want to do is all good. Right?

    What if the entire media is controlled by allies of the government in power. The news says only bad things about the opposition and only good things about the government. They don't report that the government shut down all media that criticised them.

    Too many people have lived all their lives in the developed world and have never seen how democracy works (or doesn't work) in the developing world. You can have all the elections you want but that doesn't mean that people will get the government they want.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson