Friday, 28 January 2011

Egypt just left the modern world

My blog is a pathetically inadequate place to be reporting this but at the time of writing it doesnt seem like much of the media other than the Huffington Post is interested in talking about this. Hopefully that'll change during the day.

The Egyptian Government has taken a step which has never before been seen, they have taken the country off the internet. That might seem like hyperbole but it seems to literally have happened.

This from the Rensys blog:
Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every 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.
For those who don't think this significant, citing routine internet disruption in Iran and Tunisia please keep this in mind, also from Rensys:
This is a completely different situation from the modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up in a rate-limited form designed to make Internet connectivity painfully slow. The Egyptian government's actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.

What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up. We will continue to dig into the event, and will update this story as we learn more. As Friday dawns in Cairo under this unprecedented communications blackout, keep the Egyptian people in your thoughts.
Alongside this it appears that mobile phone signals are also being disrupted in an effort to prevent protestors unifying their efforts.

Today, Egyptians will rise to pray, then they will take to the streets. They will be shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, gassed and there will be deaths. We should keep in mind what they are fighting for, a more fair and just society, free of the rule of a tyrant who has ruled the country for too long with barely a nod to democracy and who has now, in a desperate attempt to cling to power cut his nation off from the tool which has pretty much defined the age we live in.


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