Egypt Internet returns; violent protests continue

Egypt flag
By Richi Jennings. February 3, 2011.

As violent protests break out in Egypt, her Internet is at least working again. By yesterday afternoon, connectivity had been restored, presumably by order of the Mubarak government. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers fear for Egyptians' safety.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention how to write in longhand...

Gregg Keizer reports:

To restore the country's connections, Egyptian ...ISPs re-configured their core routers so that they once again announced their presence, letting ... other networks reestablish data pathways. ... Egypt's ISPs simply began advertising their availability to other networks' routers using BGP ... the protocol at the heart of the Internet's routing mechanism ... used by routers to share information about the paths data traffic uses.


The first BGP announcements for Egypt began at ... 11:30 a.m. local time ... 4:30 a.m. ET. ... The Egyptian government had likely ordered the digital blockage lifted.

Jacob Aron just agrees:

There has been no official announcement on the lifting of internet restrictions, but the returning access must be the result of government action because Egyptian ... ISPs are unlikely to have made the decision themselves.


Egyptians can now see the online reaction to the country's ongoing political turmoil.

 But Natali Morris draws her own conclusions:

In the last two years I have read at least a dozen books that champion the Internet as the key to personal and political freedom. ... However, I believe that the current revolution in Egypt should temper our faith in the Internet.


This is a revolution fueled by people, not technology. ... [Despite] the Egyptian government cutting off the digital tools that we have come to rely on ... the people of Egypt have found a way to organize the largest protest in the country's history with remarkable valor.


Maybe this should give us some sense that the Internet is an important, but not only, way to exercise freedom and voice? ...  there is an inherent danger in ceding too much power to this medium. We risk minimizing organic and offline power if we stake too much on online sources of it.

Tim Bradshaw links to a riveting website:

With internet access back, Egyptians have begun again to stream live video from their mobiles to sites such as Bambuser. ... Live streaming has been seen by protesters as a way to ensure their images are distributed immediately, rather than risk having their phones taken away by police or opponents before they can upload their footage.

Meanwhile, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is worried:

I fear, in the light of growing violence in Egypt that the Egyptian Internet may yet face troubles this time from demonstrators. ... Egypt’s Internet may up for now, but as pro-Mubarak thugs take to the streets, I wouldn’t count on it staying up.

And Finally...

I want this keyboard, but not if it does that to my hand

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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