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.
The chart below illustrates the Egyptian government’s most recent attempt to stem the rising tide of civilian protests. Apparently recognizing the threat that social networking sites posed, the Egyptians finally pulled the plug on the entire Internet on Thursday:
“[I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet … every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world …[t]he Egyptian government’s actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.”
Unfortunately for Mubarak, while he my have limited his citizen’s ability to share information, their anger and frustration won’t be staunched so easily. He may find that the genie is already out of the bottle.
Source: Arbor Networks