Rise of the (Old) Machines

With the recent shutdown of Egypt’s internet and cell phone service, people have started to break out some older technology to keep the flow of information going. Fax machines, dial-up modems and ham radios are all back in vogue now that the communications blackade is up and running. (It kind of makes me regret throwing out my U.S. Robotics 56K modem over the holidays.)

Interestingly, a contractual loophole that prevents the Egyptian government from accessing decrypted messages and data sent from BlackBerrys has allowed these device to remain functional during the blackout. Apparently, in negotiations with Research in Motion (RIM), the Egyptian government failed to gain access to encrypted data sent via BlackBerry servers. Unfortunately for hopeful revolutionaries in the rest of the Islamic world, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia all demanded — and received — such access.

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