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Censorship Communications Government The Internet Your Rights Online Politics

Egypt Cuts the Net, Net Fights Back 232

GMGruman writes "Egypt's cutoff of the Net enrages the Netizenry, who are finding a bunch of ways — high tech and low tech — to fight back, from dial-up to ham radio, from mesh networks to Twitter. Robert X. Cringely shows how the Net war is being waged, and asks, Could it happen at home, too?" Sure, it could. On the same topic, reader dermiste writes "In reaction to the Egyptian government crackdown on the Internet, the French non-profit ISP French Data Network set up a dial-up Internet access. This way, anyone in Egypt who has access to a analog phone line and can call France is able to connect to the network using the following number: +33 1 72 89 01 50 (login: toto, password: toto)."
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Egypt Cuts the Net, Net Fights Back

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  • Re:What's the Catch? (Score:3, Informative)

    by McTickles ( 1812316 ) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @08:18AM (#35042094)

    They ARE offfering it for free, it is an association, there is nothing in it for them. They are fierce defenders of net neutrality, they have been around for quite a while now.

  • Re:Toto...?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @08:30AM (#35042146)

    No, it's just the French equivalent of "foo". The sequence "foo bar biz baz" is "toto titi tata tutu".

    If you want to bless the reigns, you should worry more about what's happening in Jordan, rather than Egypt.

  • Re:Toto...?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @08:32AM (#35042150)

    Yes "toto" is common fill-in for passwords and first names. It's more like "joe" than "foobar".

  • Re:What's the Catch? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ryzvonusef ( 1151717 ) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @08:40AM (#35042184) Journal

    Also, the number is probably already blocked.

    If you read their comments there are links to other alternatives, including this interesting link that some how uses cellphones[1], and more people are pitching in.

    Also, they have offered some statistics:

    Some figures:

    The first calls arriving from Egypt (code +20) are seen around 19:30. One every 2 or 3 minutes.

    Rarely more than one simultaneous connection. Most are short-term (probably related to the costs of communications).

    Also saw some other sources (Iraq, Algeria, UAE, among others)

    [1]: http://manalaa.net/dialup [manalaa.net]

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @08:54AM (#35042232) Homepage

    There are 2 reasons Mubarak tried to block Internet access:
    1. It was being used by protesters to coordinate - reporting on where police were concentrated, where people were gathering, etc.
    2. It had this video [youtube.com] of a civilian getting shot by police while he was backing away. Mubarak probably thought that by blocking access to the video the Egyptian people wouldn't figure out that the cops had crossed that line.

    It hasn't worked. As a longtime /. sig once put it: The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it.

  • Re:GSM Roaming (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @09:17AM (#35042320)

    Not much likelihood of GSM roaming. Take a look at a photo of Egypt at night from space.

    Egypt *is* the Nile. And not much near the borders...

  • Re:What's the Catch? (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @10:15AM (#35042538)

    >>>are they charging an arm and a leg? I mean, I know they're Not for Profit, but that doesn't always meant they offer all services free. If they ARE offering it for free... I can't help but wonder what their angle is.

    I don't know why you're surprised. DIALUP internet only costs me $7/month. Netzero and Juno offer it for free (see links below). It's not that much of a burden for the Non-profit ISP to offer free access to egyptians.

    And the datarate is only ~30 kbit/s via analog lines, so you could carry over 300 users in the space of one DSL or cable customer.

    http://www.juno.com/start/landing.do?page=www/free/index [juno.com]
    http://isp.netscape.com/ [netscape.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @11:40AM (#35042988)

    That "longtime /. sig" is a quote by John Gilmore, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, creator or the alt.* Usenet hierarchy, major contributor to the GNU project, fifth employee of Sun Microsystems, co-author of the predecessor to DHCP, beard wearer. The correct quote is "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

  • by Simon80 ( 874052 ) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @02:06PM (#35043910)
    Mark Stephens and InfoWorld parted ways acrimoniously, and one of the results of that is that they both still use the Robert X. Cringely name. The InfoWorld Cringely is NOT the same author as this one [cringely.com].

Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.