Egyptian government deploys Internet kill switch ahead of mass demonstrations against president

Apple Online Store“For the first time in modern history a major Internet economy is being shut down. The Egyptian government appears to have cut off web and mobile phone access to much, if not most of its citizens ahead of a weekend of mass demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak,” Parmy Olson reports for Forbes.

“Mobile phone networks have reportedly been disrupted, leaving millions without access to text messaging or phone calls,” Olson reports. “The country’s key Internet Service Providers are also off the air, says James Cowie, the chief technology officer of Internet monitoring firm Renesys on his blog. ‘Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.'”

Olson reports, “Activists have taken to Twitter to report on the situation while the local dialup network NOOR appears to still be online. One tweet that has been doing the rounds recommends that locals who have NOOR access or a working Wifi router remove their passwords in order to share access with neighbors.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This ought to make thinking, freedom-loving people very wary of granting any government the power of an “Internet kill switch.” This is a clarion reminder that things that one day might sound prudent and rational to some can sound completely misguided and crazy the next. You never know who will gain power or how they’ll abuse it until it’s too late.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

39 Comments

  1. “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”
    – Gerald Ford (14 July 1913 – 26 December 2006) , the 38th President of the United States.

  2. @Wandering Joe
    The US hasn’t just KEPT dictators in power, we’ve PUT them in Power.
    The Shah of Iran. Saddam Hussein. We built the Taliban.

    There’s an excellent new iPad app that was adapted from a graphic novel, which was adapted from a book about the CIA sponsored assassination of Mohammad Mossedegh a popular leader who wanted Iran to control their oil. Needless to say the US and Britain took steps…

    Anyway, it’s called Operation Ajax. It’s extremely well done and I is an incredible eye-opener.

  3. @john smith
    I know that’s a thinly veiled reference to the current administration but it applies both ways. Take an objective look at all the privacy and rights you had to give up under the last administration under the guise of “security from evildoers”.

    You quickly come to realize that people need to stop looking at the (D) and (R) behind everyone’s name and look at issues objectively.

  4. What never ceases to fascinate me is that Americans are so often proud of their democracy. Whenever there is a discussion on democracy in the world, Americans tend to declare, often with great pride, how theirs is about the best, most open, transparent and free. What I cannot understand, then, is, since this statement means that every single elected official in the government is elected by his/her constituents and is directly representing the interests of those who elected them, how is it possible that Americans (especially conservative ones, those most proud of their democracy) tend to be most fearful of the very government they themselves elected?

    If it is such a true and transparent democracy, can’t you just vote your representative out if he votes for something that you don’t agree with?

  5. …”You never know who will gain power or how they’ll abuse it until it’s too late.” (MDN’t take)

    That sentence is applicable to single-party dictatorships and such. Surely, it can’t possibly happen in a transparent democracy, where every tiny little detail is dug up about every candidate, then regular people go and vote for them? Not to mention that the same people get to vote them out if even a tiny thing goes wrong…?

  6. I really dont understand how killing the Internet could help the government in a “modern Internet economy.” Shouldn’t it just leave everyone competely unable to either work or entertain themselves, and if so, what better thing could there be to do than go outside and fight the police over it?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.