Egypt Goes Internet Dark

January 28th, 2011 by · 7 Comments

Many, not the least of which being Renesys, have now noted that Egypt appears to have cut off its own access to the internet in the face of unrest.  Not just filtered things they don’t like, or throttled traffic to discourage use.  They’ve shut it down – except perhaps for the stock markets.  There has been no interruption of course to the traffic flowing through the country from Europe to Asia on those critical cable systems, nor is there likely to be since Egypt is clearly doing this at the IP layer via its own ISPs.  Still, one has to wonder just what repercussions will be felt worldwide when an entire country goes dark.

If nothing else, this has shown us just what it could mean if the government has a kill switch for the internet.  They all want one, of course, and it’ll be there to protect us.  But they’ll never actually use it unless they feel *themselves* in danger.  And I’ll tell you what, it isn’t going to work in Egypt.  It’s just going to piss the protesters off even more.  I don’t smell a peaceful end to this.  Mubarak had best get his helicopter refueled.

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Categories: Internet Backbones

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7 Comments So Far

  • fluids_only says:


    Gizmodo reports that the shutdown was via legal order issued to ISPs;

    “There was no giant lever or big red button involved, but in reality it was almost as easy: the Egyptian Government simply issued an order for ISPs to shut down service.

    “Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it,” Vodafone Egypt explained in a statement shortly after. Along with Vodafone, Egypt’s other three major ISPs, Link Egypt, Telecom Egypt, and Etisalat Misr, all stopped service.”

    I agree with your views about this backfiring on them. Not only will it piss of the people, but for the international media commercial interest and righteousness will be in alignment, as agencies will pull out all stops to get news out of the country. And ironically, the country being in total shutdown gives the absolute worst impression of a state in crisis and near collapse.


    • Rob Powell says:

      Yeah, it smacks of desperation… which only serves to embolden the protests.

      • Anon says:

        I do laugh at all these news reports about this “revolution” being led from social media. The whole country has an Internet penetration rate of under 10%. Twitter et al really need to get over themselves.

        • Rob Powell says:

          Yes, the forces driving the whole thing have nothing to do with the internet and never have.

          Supposedly cell phone service is back on line now, but not internet yet. One would think cell phones would be the bigger organizational tool in Egypt.

  • Wizard says:

    It has long been part of my conversations that all empires must fall. The information age allows it to happen faster. It is not that the flow of communication has been cut off but that it has degraded back 30 years. But each time a power takes away, it adds to the unrest. Civil wars will always happen, the Internet let’s it happen quicker. Perhaps governments should learn from this.

  • Web Hosting says:

    It would be common scenario in any country if such revolutions starts.

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