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Egypt Goes Dark As Last ISP Pulls Plug

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the revolution-will-not-be-tweeted dept.

Censorship 323

CWmike writes "Egypt is now off the grid. Four days after the Egyptian government ordered Internet service providers to disconnect from the Internet, the country's last working Internet company has abruptly vanished from cyberspace. Noor Group, a small service provider that hosted Internet connections for the country's stock exchange and other businesses, became completely unreachable at around 10:46 p.m. Cairo time (Eastern European Time), according to Earl Zmijewski, general manager with Internet monitoring company Renesys. 'It looks like they're completely lights-out now,' he told IDG News' Robert McMillan. Thought to handle only about 8 percent of the country's Internet connections, Noor had served as a critical lifeline to Egypt since the government had ordered service cut early Friday morning. Nobody is sure how Noor was able to keep operating, even as larger ISPs such as Vodafone and Telecom Egypt voluntarily cut their Egyptian networks off from the rest of the world." To help with this, engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow have rolled out a "speak-to-tweet" service, which lets people dial in to an international phone number, leave a voice mail, and have the audio file made available online via an automated Twitter update.

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323 comments

Yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062234)

Mubarak: your house of cards is falling down! Who's next...? Down with the dictators!

Re:Yup (1, Troll)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062338)

> Down with the dictators!
And up with ... what?

Re:Yup (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062382)

Bunnies! ^_^

Re:Yup (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062508)

A Roman-style Senate which had NO leaders. No caesars or presidents or anybody else who might become sick with power.

Also Google's pretty genius. All you need is a standard voiceline to post your tweets online. Nice. Wonder if anyone is making using of Dialup to post online? Despite many claims that dialup is worthless, it's actually quite useful - just slower (watching youtube requires a 5 minute buffer time) (or a youtube-to-3GP downloader).

Re:Yup (4, Informative)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062606)

Despite many claims that dialup is worthless, it's actually quite useful - just slower

If all you used was some specific programs that made use of API calls... dial up might be indistinguishable from broadband. Last I checked standard dial up could deliver about 4-5 Kb/s. 2 Kb/s with a crappy connection to the CO.

A tiny program written specifically for tweeting or IM with a bare bones interface (like IRC) could easily work on dial up. I should know.... for years my connection at home was 2.8 Kb/s with THREE bonded modems. If I could do IRC on *that* it's absolutely possible to just do IM and tweets.

A Roman-style Senate which had NO leaders. No caesars or presidents or anybody else who might become sick with power.

Really? How did a Roman-style Senate prevent corruption and nepotism? Sincerely curious.

Re:Yup (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062868)

Really? How did a Roman-style Senate prevent corruption and nepotism? Sincerely curious.

I'm trying to see how any incarnation of a Senate is anything but the very definition of corruption and nepotism. Yeah, I'd be curious as well.

It is important to note that Rome was a Republic, not a democracy. The Senate was essentially a lifetime appointment originally and turned into an inherited office over time. Arguably the U.S. Senate is heading that way too.

Re:Yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062984)

Why is that so important to note? Having a representative body like a Senate already identifies the system of government as a republic. A democracy would have direct voting on issues like in Athens (if you fit the definition of a person - a land-owning male).

Re:Yup (4, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062642)

First, the Roman Senate most definitely had leaders, and they had amazing powers to manipulate it. It was these powers that allowed it to be subverted eventually by military men like Pompei, Caesar and Crassus, and then be swept aside as Octavian did. And Octavian wasn't even a caesar, just a mere first citizen :)

Second, the Senate was a consultative body, which had no actual power, legislative or otherwise. All it could do was issue advice decrees. Unless those were made into laws by other Roman institutions that actually had legislative powers, Senate proclamations remained just that - proclamations. Of course, the main reason those proclamations had some influence, and were largely implemented as laws once adopted was the fact that the Senate was comprised of the richest, most influential and sick with power Roman citizens.

Third, read some history before you post funny things on slashdot.

Re:Yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062538)

the muslim brotherhood... out of the frying pan, into the fire?

Re:Yup (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062552)

Democratically elected governments.

Re:Yup (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062832)

Great answer. But in Egypt today all there is are crowds demanding Mubarak leave, and if that happens, there is no "democratically elected government" waiting to fill that vacuum.

Re:Yup (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062948)

That takes time. That does not mean letting a brutal dictator stay in place is a good idea. If he was smart he would have already announced when elections would be held and withdrawn his bullshit emergency powers.

Re:Yup (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062368)

Mubarak's replacement will be the real dictator. Egyptians will regret what they have done, but it will be too late.

Re:Yup (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062952)

No sadly it isn't

Mubarak hasn't lost any palaces or military bases. He still is in control with the military backing him.

The reason they are not firing is because they simply don't have to. The protesters are poor living hand to mouth before the protests and will eventually have to stop just to get food and survive.

It is a waiting game. The protesters don't have enough support and the leaders will be ruthlessly found, beaten tortured and murdered once things calm down. You don't put the head of your Intelligence service as your second in command for nothing.

Re:Yup (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062966)

Which in the long term will ensure Egypt would have the same sort of revolution Iran had. I wish our leaders had the stones to admit he needs to go and that we have been propping this asshole up.

Egypt's got bigger problems (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062242)

Egypt's got bigger problems than their Internet access right about now. I'm glad the Slashdot community is so concerned about their bandwidth and all... but really...

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (5, Insightful)

donny77 (891484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062300)

This isn't about bandwidth. It's about preventing the populace from getting information. It's about keeping the populace from organizing. Its about control.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (3, Funny)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062434)

this isn't about getting information. It's about keeping army's hands busy with porn ... they loose porn, they eventually get off the barracks and pacify people.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (0)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062932)

they loose porn, they eventually get off the barracks and pacify people.

To "loose porn" would be to remove the staples from your playboy magazine. You should have said "they lose porn".

Everybody seems to have a problem with those two words.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062310)

Yeah. The point is that now a critical avenue by which the world at large could see those problems from a non-State-Approved point of view has been cut off.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062316)

The protesters are using the Internet to organize. They're protesting to fix those "bigger problems" like a lack of free speech, corruption in government, and police brutality. Preserving their Internet access is preserving their ability to fight for what they want. I believe that's important.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062628)

The protesters are using the Internet to organize. They're protesting to fix those "bigger problems" like a lack of free speech, corruption in government, and police brutality. Preserving their Internet access is preserving their ability to fight for what they want. I believe that's important.

Problem: their issues aren't ones you listed. The reasons for protests are:

1. Unemployment and poverty.
2. Government's policy towards Israel.

Everything else is secondary at best. The main reason why US and EU (Western Europe before that) supported Mubarak rather openly for about 30 years was because he is a very safe choice for a leader. He reigns in all anti-western majority-supported policies, defends the all-important Suez channel and as one of US diplomats put it "it's generally a lot easier to call the guy who's a dictator and tell him to do what we want done then a democratically elected one".

Problem for West now is that we have to pay lip-service to democracy movements in dictatorial regimes at least due to attitudes at home, and that hamstrings any open support for Mubarak. So now, we apparently supplied a West-backed "democratic" leader in El-Baradei (a very small player in Egypt's internal politics until now), who will be eventually marketed and installed as Egypt's leader so that policies that interest West such as Israel and Suez don't change.

As for unemployment, that's going to get worse at least in short term with capital running from country as fast as it can. Unless they elect someone like Chavez who just chokes the capital's influence down in favor of poor masses, but West learned that lesson in Venezuela all too well - any potential leaders who threaten capital's ability to buy whatever policies needed will most likely be buried asap.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (5, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063020)

While related, apparently one of the largest problems facing Egypt is that unfortunately for the Egyptian people much of the food is imported.... and purchased with dollar-denominated funds when purchased on the international markets.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, due to loose spending of the U.S. Dollar and essentially "running the printing presses" (mainly sending credits to various banks in America buying up "toxic assets" to be owned directly by The Fed) has been devaluing the dollar sending the price of this food up so wheat in particular is about double the price as it was about a year ago or more.

To really make things ugly here, American farmers have been switching from wheat to other crops, most especially corn which is increasingly being used to make ethanol and other synthetic materials including plastic substitutes that used to be made with petroleum. Since corn isn't even being used for food in these situations, that in turn drives up the price of other grains like wheat when it still is grown by those few remaining farmers who still plant that grain. Thanks to U.S. federal ethanol subsidies, poor people in Egypt have to pay even more for a loaf of bread (made from wheat usually) and are in effect taking the brunt end of the problems caused by the housing collapse in America.

Wheat farmers in other countries are also seeing the dollar lose value in relation to their own currency, yet they are struggling with things like higher petroleum prices that are wiping out any profits they may have experienced from higher wheat prices.

In other words, this is a perfect storm of converging events that essentially is making it impossible for ordinary people in Egypt to be able to eat food anymore. It is also a dangerous feed-back loop given their location next to many major oil reserves in the world, especially sitting on a major international trade route that is going to make this a vicious feedback cycle to drive up food prices even more that will in turn stop international trade in food. When you can't eat, you get desperate and usually don't give a damn about who is in charge.... you'll eat their hide and certainly would be willing to go to desperate ends to simply live until tomorrow or not care if you don't.

The situation is really bad, and unfortunately American policies over the years including domestic America policies are really screwing with the Egyptian people right now... much of it as unintended consequences originally intended to help.

Even somebody like Chavez isn't going to help much in this situation, and Mubarak seems to be making some particularly stupid moves in this explosive situation. I don't think Obama is necessarily doing anything worthwhile either, and IMHO should be doing something like shipping millions of tons of wheat to Egypt at least to calm the situation down a bit. Bread and circuses can make a difference, but right now Egypt has neither and the people are really pissed as a result. Cutting off the internet gets rid of the circus, so they are making their own with the protests. Way to go there.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062324)

Egypt's got bigger problems than their Internet access right about now. I'm glad the Slashdot community is so concerned about their bandwidth and all... but really...

Except this government action is not independent from those "bigger problems" you allude to. They want to keep the protesters from being able to communicate; and they want to keep a lid on news getting out to the wider world as much as possible.

I expect things are about to get very brutal in Egypt - at least if you're a protester (or are an unfortunate "civilian" who ends up on the general area of a protest).

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (4, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062336)

Well, that would be the "news for nerds" part of it.

In reality, though, the internet shutoff is a key part of the ongoing struggle. Call it a catalyst, a symbol of the regime, whatever - the point is that internet-based communications were pivotal in jump-starting starting this whole thing (back to Tunisia), and serve as a stark sign for whom the international community should rally alongside (hint: it's not the one turning off the media). There's more to the revolution than twitter, but it's more of a revolution when communication happens freely.

Re:Egypt's got bigger problems (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062694)

but now we know only a tiny facts now, they cant organizes as easy, less hope, more fear, cant find family members as easy etc.

it is a important issue; and now that less video is going out ~0 chance that the public in other stronger counterys will demand that some corrupt idiot wont be put in power by them

And yet ... (5, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062246)

The internet in Egypt is still easier to read than slashdot 3.0.

Re:And yet ... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062576)

The internet in Egypt is still easier to read than slashdot 3.0.

I wonder what the slashdot Rosetta Stone would look like? My guess is ASCII porn and ASCII wiring diagrams, but mostly ASCII porn.

Good-by financial markets???? (0, Flamebait)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062290)

Wow, Egypt's "Presidente" should an hero right the fuck now.

The people have spoken, and he's sitting there, firing his cabinet, cutting of all ties to the outside world and has now officially brought whatever international market trade still existed to a standstill.

All so he can cling to whatever notion of power he thinks he still has. The UN should be let in, and allowed to safe-guard the places of government while a democratic election is quickly assembled. There's too much risk at this point of the military just up and saying "fuck it" and having a junta.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062348)

So far the Egyptian President has been taking the relative high road for somebody in his position. I'm not sure whether he's worried about war crimes or about being lynched on the way out of town. But as oppressive as things have been, he could have ordered a brutal crack down on the protesters. At this point the armed forces are still trying to avoid unnecessary blood shed.

Not that it means it's alright for him to continue without a legitimate election, but lets keep things in context.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062584)

They have been shooting protesters, do they need to rape them too?

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062626)

But as oppressive as things have been, he could have ordered a brutal crack down on the protesters.

He did.
The commanders of his military all said "fuck that", and his order went ignored.
All he has left at his command is the regular police force, and he likely won't have that for long.

Things aren't as bad as they could have been not because he showed any degree of restraint or sanity, but because his generals didn't join him on the oblivious power trip.

He's not taking the high road... (1)

Shauni (1164077) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062630)

He's taking the only road. If he ordered a brutal crackdown now, the military (many of which are American-influenced and better-educated than the police forces) would probably refuse, like Tunisia.

Don't think he wouldn't do it if he thought he could get away with it.

Mubarak is hoping for one of two things. Either the protest loses momentum and goes away (yeah right), or it goes out of control and he can convince the military leaders that martial law and massive crackdowns is the only way out. Until then, he will do whatever he thinks is necessary to hold on.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (3, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062634)

High road? He's been on TV crowing about how he is the country's leader of freedom. Nothing but hollow rhetoric.

He fired the entire cabinet of technocrats, in a lame attempt to deflect blame to others, and is only making the crowds angrier. He could have ordered a more brutal crackdown, but he knows that's what caused the Shah of Iran to lose, so he's not willing to make such a suicidal move. The high road would have been for him to announce a peaceful transition to democracy and upcoming elections and a repeal of his emergency powers that he's been using to suppress free speech and jail people without cause. Egypt is known for the most brutal police and prisons in the region.

Worked recently (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062696)

He could have ordered a more brutal crackdown, but he knows that's what caused the Shah of Iran to lose

Not sure I buy that, since in a more recent example the "brutal crackdown" model worked really well for Ahmadinejad, sad to say.

I'm in agreement with other posters that Mubarak simply doesn't have "brutal crackdown" as an option because the army would not obey it and he would then lose their support (which is also why I don't think he has ordered anything like this).

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (3, Insightful)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062980)

Just pointing out...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989 [wikipedia.org]

"Small voluntary civilian gatherings started on 15 April around Monument to the People's Heroes in the middle of the Tiananmen Square in the form of mourning for Hu Yaobang."

"The movement lasted seven weeks after Hu's death on 15 April. In early June, the People's Liberation Army moved into the streets of Beijing with troops and tanks and cleared the square with live fire."

Sometimes brutal crackdowns take a while to get organized.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062420)

Yea, thats how the UN works, it just goes in.

Actually the UNSC would hem and haw for weeks about it, someone would threaten a veto or four, probably France just to be a pissed off spoiler because of the Suez Crisis in '56. Then there'd be the decision about the make up of the peacekeeping force, someone would insist on alot of African Union troops, probably France, which would piss off the Egyptians and the Arab League, since some of those AU troops are Christians, and by then the entire place is stable on it's own, or a farking war zone like Mogadishu on a Sunday in 1993.

The only folks who just "go in" are the Americans and sometimes NATO.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (4, Interesting)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062452)

Sadly, unless the military get involved the most likely replacement will be some islamic hardline fascist group like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt's military has been the source of power for decades, so this is not like Tunisia where the military will just stand idly by.

Ironically in another Middle East Country -Turkey the military has often intervened when the governments have gone off track, so they have actually helped keep that country from going radical at times -although they are currently a little nervous about the moderate islamist government currently in power there.

Cries for Western Style Democracy seem to go unheeded in parts of the world where rigid power structures and theocracies reside. Not that Western Style democracy seems to be working that well in the US these days...

I'm just sayin'

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062602)

If that is what the people want it is their right to have such a government.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (4, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062604)

I don't think the Muslim Brotherhood will take over. Egypt actually has many political Opposition parties and alternative leaders, like Ayman Nour, the Wasat party, etc. They'd be far more likely to win than the Brotherhood. Keep in mind they've been sitting this one out for various strategic reasons. Even so, if they had to run for elections, they'd run towards the center like many other groups. Banning a party, as Mubarak did, will only make it more hardline. Whenever a far right party wins seats, they either are forced to moderate their ideas or they usually lose the next election.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062678)

Apparently you haven't been paying attention to egypt. Nearly 80% of the 'common' people there support them in some fashion, including sharia law. They've been inciting people there for weeks, and they also have been driving the various opposition groups to overthrow the government. Whenever whatever happens, you can bet that the muslim brotherhood will have a hand in it, besides that they're already ratcheting up the 'time to exterminate israel' speeches.

Yep interesting times, wouldn't surprise me to see in a few years 'islamic countries try to drive the jews into the sea' thing again, with yet another bloody nose.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062858)

If that is what the people of Egypt want, they have every right to it.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (3, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062912)

Nearly 80% of the 'common' people there support them in some fashion

Source? I can see that in 2005 elections [wikipedia.org], MB candidates running as Independents got 88 seats in parliament out of 454 - that's less than 20%, and a far cry from 80%.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (4, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062956)

You're going to have to show me some citations there. Do you actually trust opinion polls in a police state that lacks free speech?

When you ban all other political parties, they get together, moderates and radicals alike. It's because they have a common goal to get rid of the existing regime and are being persecuted together. That's why the Brotherhood is seen as popular because they are the !=Mubarak party. When you remove that block, the supporters fragment once more. Look at Iraq for example; all the formerly-banned opposition groups have divided into their respective parties; Communist, Salafi, secularist, Velayat, etc. They were all opposed to Saddam, and he painted them all as Muslim extremists, traitors, puppets of Iran, Israel, and the US, etc. Most of them weren't.

If you remove Mubarak and allow the formation of political parties once again, you won't see religious extremism take over. Jeffersonian democracy is not like that, instead you get competing factions that will cancel each other's votes out. You'd get a spectrum of political parties from right to left; the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wasat, the National Democratic Party (Mubarak's regime), Socialist party, Communist party, etc. Egypt is not the same as Iran or Saudi etc. You have a large urban class, Cairo is like the Hollywood of the Arab world, and there are tens of millions of non-Muslims living in the land. This revolution is not over religion, it's over political freedom, poverty, and against police repression.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062856)

So said Jimmy Carter in 1979. You, Sir, are an idiot.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (5, Insightful)

pckl300 (1525891) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062622)

Egypt's military has been the source of power for decades, so this is not like Tunisia where the military will just stand idly by.

This just in: the military is standing by while the people exercise their right to revolution.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062624)

The Muslim Brotherhood aren't an islamic hardline fascist group. They are in favour of a secular state. And in any case they are no where near having majority support.

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (1, Insightful)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063006)

many people will disagree that the Muslim Brotherhood is in favor of secularism

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=11146

the Muslim brotherhood has ties to fascism that predate WW2 and has active ties to Europe and the US in addition to the Middle East.

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Good-by financial markets???? (3, Insightful)

The13thSin (1092867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062770)

What are you basing your assumption on that the regime will be replaced by extremists? The protesters seem to be of every walk of life and from every ideological point of view. Even the Muslim Brotherhood recognizes the secular Nobel Peace Price laureate ElBaradai as the main opposition spokesperson now [wsj.com].

If anything, this could very well mean a good thing for the west, with a more secular and broader government of this huge power in the middle east. Of course, uncertainty doesn't make everyone in the different western governments jump up in joy (even though they arguably should) by this uprising. That said, it would obviously speed things up enormously if the Egypt military would throw their weight behind the protest, and the first signs to that end are already there [aljazeera.net].

Text to speech (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062354)

It's a really clever idea to have a speech-to-tweet service setup, since its circumventing the block, but I don't think it's all that practical for several reasons:

1. Does it transcribe Arabic?
2. If you can't get online in Egypt, how will Egyptian people follow the twitter feeds? Broadcasting to the outside world is important, but what's somewhat more important to the Egyptians right now is reaching each other, since they're trying to coordinate a massive million-person protest in Cairo and can't do it via word-of-mouth alone.

it doesn't transcribe (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062398)

But the audio files are posted and some people are listening to them and hand-transcribing interesting ones, including Arabic ones and retweeting them with the same hash tag.

They cannot be read inside the country, but it still works for getting messages out.

Re:Text to speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062408)

1) No, it's simply storing the voicemails they leave.

2) One step at a time.

Re:Text to speech (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062814)

The only way #2 would work right now would be a speech-to-speech mailbox. You call up and leave a message in a mailbox, and 'subscribers' to that messagebox get an automated call replaying the message.

Viva la Revelution (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062360)

Time for Egyptians to stand up and fight back, and many already are.

Re:Viva la Revelution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062466)

A lot of the unrest for the protests is being backed by Muslim extremists behind the scenes. This is not a case of Jeffersonian Democracy protesters vs a Dictatorship. If there is a Revolution, we might just end up with another extremist Muslim country in the Middle East.

Re:Viva la Revelution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062528)

Tim Leary said it best. Want to back in time 3,000 years, go to the middle east.

Want to go to the future, see a moon base, see a martin base, see a base on the moon Europa. We are a slave planet, have been misused and leave those pesky humans to their own devices, dust.

I'm so glad I have to live on this planet to see the end time.

Re:Viva la Revelution (4, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062546)

Nope. The Muslim brotherhood explicitly has been saying for the last week how they're staying out of this one. Mubarak would LOVE to blame this on terrorists or outsiders, as a way of delegitimizing the protests, so they're not going to try helping him out on that. Egypt is not really known for their extremism, and democracy would likely moderate any factions that try it, especially since there is a very large secular crowd in the country as well as millions of Christians.

Re:Viva la Revelution (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062608)

Which just like Iran we can thank the western world for. When you prop up dictators this is what you get.

Re:Viva la Revelution (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062918)

A lot of the unrest for the protests is being backed by Muslim extremists behind the scenes.

Well, or so the dictator being toppled says.

How could this happen? (-1, Troll)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062362)

How could this happen? I thought that the internet was more important than the government. Our internet; any government. Is this a cultural thing? Do Egyptian engineers always do whatever the government tells them to do without thinking ? Are they secretly Germans or Soviets? Even when they can see themselves that this particular government has reached its end?

Maybe it's my residual American chauvinism, but I just can't imagine any patriotic person anywhere blindly shutting his country totally off of the international computer network, Regardless of what any corrupt 82-year-old man tells them to do. I'd just hem and haw and techno-babble them blind about how it just couldn't be done.

I think that WE should protest this country's chickenshit engineers by refusing to let them back on the internet when they decide that they are rejoin civilization. And then start oscillating their currency in the international markets while they watch helplessly unable to do anything about it.

This is OUR internet. You just don't shut down part of it just because you feel like it. Every now and then we need to give the third world a taste of what real power is about (" a whiff of grapeshot" as the English used to say) so that they don't get a delusions of grandeur and think that they can get away with doing things like shutting down parts of the Internet.

Re:How could this happen? (4, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062418)

When people with machine guns come and tell you "turn off your internet or we will kill you, your family, and just bulldoze the building" - I'd say about 99.999999% of people would comply without blinking. Your "protest" of the engineers would be nothing more than a philosophical circle jerk.

Re:How could this happen? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062698)

When people with machine guns come and tell you "turn off your internet or we will kill you, your family, and just bulldoze the building" - I'd say about 99.999999% of people would comply without blinking. Your "protest" of the engineers would be nothing more than a philosophical circle jerk.

The tricky thing is you're 100.0000000% wrong.
Nothing causes people to rally to a cause, violently, like a martyr.

Risk of death? Sure.
"nothing more than a philosophical circle jerk"? Hardly.

I can see you're between the ages of 13 and 30, and are a typical internet cynic. May I suggest reading a history book? Or perhaps, turning on the news and watching what is happening, right now, in Egypt? Do you really think Americans, a well-armed populace to put it lightly, could not do the same if so moved to action?

Re:How could this happen? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062846)

If they even ask. They are just as liable to blow up your building on the spot and not worry about 'asking'.

Re:How could this happen? (1)

Veroxii (51114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062436)

People are less likely to hem and haw with a couple of AK-47s pointed at them. Most people would just flip the switch.

Re:How could this happen? (1)

NuShrike (561140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062488)

This is the Patriot Act with AT&T and others acting in collusion with the gov't, if it happens in the USA.

Re:How could this happen? (5, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062548)

Maybe it's my residual American chauvinism, but I just can't imagine any patriotic person anywhere blindly shutting his country totally off of the international computer network, Regardless of what any corrupt 82-year-old man tells them to do. I'd just hem and haw and techno-babble them blind about how it just couldn't be done.

You're not a corporation. I'm guessing Telecom Egypt's board members all gave little speeches about how they wanted to uphold the rights of their customers, but they had obligations to their employees to make sure they weren't punished, and an obligation to the shareholders not to put their equipment and future business at risk, and besides there are other internet providers to choose from, and they aren't actually preventing from people speaking so it's not really violating their free speech, and the terms of service had either explicit or implicit terms about how in times of mass protest, the service could be suspended.

And then they unanimously voted to shut down for a few days, while they all went on holiday to a more stable country to look at real estate. Just in case.

There was probably a bit of disagreement over whether or not they should and could stop paying their employees (aside from the security guards) during the shutdown.

Internet shutoff (1)

oldpelican (639978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062378)

The Egyptian military and connections (retired senior officers) are undoubtably wired into the US Military/Intelligence Community internets. My understanding is that civilian landlines will also be closed, probably more difficult but possible since the Egyptian Military has been permitted to re-enter the Sinai by Israel. This situation and many others have been gamed long ago but as once said there are unknowns that are unknown. IMHO, so far, Egypt is still following the program.

Re:Internet shutoff (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062518)

The military and diplomatic lines are still going.

Like you said, an Egyptian military commander these days went to school in the US and or UK, trained with the Americans and Brits and maybe even the Israelis and has connections, official and unofficial. If they really need to communicate they can go over to Cairo West and hop on a physical or satellite connection to DC, Tel Aviv, London, or if they are really old timers, Moscow.

Summary answers itself (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062396)

Nobody is sure how Noor was able to keep operating

Noor Group, a small service provider that hosted Internet connections for the country's stock exchange

A couple people in government trying to get their money out while they can?

Not sure how they were still operating? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062414)

That third link provided analysis as to how the government shut down most of the internet:

...a government that licenses a mobile authority can threaten violence to individual cell towers or backhaul networks, or to employees working for the carrier. Future license renewals can also be threatened for non-compliance, analysts noted.

I'm going to suggest that maybe Noor figured Mubarak was weak enough to defy. Maybe they figured his security forces were too busy trying to control the country to shut Noor down, and there wasn't much risk of being denied a license renewal because there wasn't much risk of Mubarak being in power a month from now. It appears to have at least partially worked: they lasted longer than anyone else... though I guess that assumes the forced shutdown involved turning off the power and not, say, destroying their equipment and/or executing their employees.

A more cynical take would be that it's good PR for if the revolution succeeded. "We were the only ones supporting the revolution. Customers: you really want to stay with Vodafone after they left you when you needed them the most? New government, you really want to let them back in? We helped you, now how about an exclusive license to operate in, say, everywhere?"

Good luck Egypt (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062446)

This just reeks of desperation. The financial markets aren't so important but without communications Egypt is essentially isolated. Let's hope it doesn't take too long for the regime to finally crumble.

Re:Good luck Egypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062562)

... to finally crumble and be replaced with a worse one. It's Iran #2, with Obama instead of Carter.

Re:Good luck Egypt (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062648)

Unlikely, more likely you get a democratic state. Even if it does happen do not blame those who witnessed it happen, blame the decades worth of folks who set the it in motion.

Re:Good luck Egypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062836)

Why is this Obama's fault? Because he's not spending the trillions of dollars to occupy a third country just to prop up yet another asshole corrupt drug dealer ruler like Karzai?

Idea (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062464)

Now we can take their IPv4 addresses back and postpone the depletion.
http://www.apnic.net/publications/news/2011/delegation

They just allocated the last two /8s to APNIC, the remaining five /8s will be delegated to each one of the five regional registries. Goodbye IPv4! Nice to meet you and your brother called NAT.

Meh... (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062506)

All solutions I've heard so far require people calling international numbers. But do we know whether people have access to international numbers? And how are they going to learn about this service? And their whole problem is that they cannot coordinate their activities, being able to send tweets but not read them will not help much...
Yeah, I can set up a dialup for Egyptian revolutionaries at my home. I can even post to twitter (ok, I have to make an account first, I'm not a twit myself) what they want to say if they call me at home. But even if they knew my number, it wouldn't really help them much.
A slashdotter proposed we all start calling numbers at random in Egypt. While that is silly for many reasons (most obvious is the language issue), it is close to what I could consider a viable solution to the communication problem, provided inbound international calls are possible.
So, instead of the people in Egypt using the internet to organize, they should use their family members abroad as proxies for organizing. You call your cousin in X place, he tells you about the planned activities and instead of trying to contact their inhabitants in X place, you contact their relatives in Queens...
Anyway, just an idea, I do hope Mubarak relents soon and all this is not required.

kiss (1)

wervr (712696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062550)

If they can make international calls and they have computers then why don't they just dial up some ISP or a BBS in some other country?

9th Plague (1)

JoeThoughtful (1945502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062670)

When Egypt goes dark it is best to evacuate your firstborn out of the country! Really, the population of Earth is at such a size that we should be witnessing the rise of more geniuses than we have seen throughout the whole of human history. This should be a time of peacefully working out our past karma and past prejudices and preparing the way for a new generation of spirited helpers and builders. We are one Earth population, any country filled with people in pain is our own pain.

Supporting the revolution - only when it's safe (4, Insightful)

thetagger (1057066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062724)

Thanks for nothing Google. What about hosting a Wikileaks mirror or allowing donations to Wikileaks via Google Checkout?

It's so easy to be a revolutionary when you are thousands of miles away from any danger. Twitter is full of Internet revolutionaries sipping coffee at a Starbucks in San Francisco.

AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY ---- 41.128.0.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062988)

Ip's are used but in fair condition.

Who is compensating the ISPs? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062990)

So all of a sudden these ISPs are losing millions of dollars because they are not allowed to operate in Egypt. Is the Egyptian government going to be compensating them for this direct expense?

Internet Kill Switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062996)

Maybe now the US will have some... slight qualms... about implementing policies that are provably used by totalitarian governments to crush communications during times of unrest. Go ahead, try to pass it into law. I dare you.

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