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You say you want a revolution?

If you needed any convincing that the Internet is fully integrated into the fiber of the world, just look at the Egyptian government's response to a rapidly rising tide of protests against President Hosni Mubarak. As people swarmed into the streets demanding an end to the Mubarak regime, the government deployed police, mobilized the military, imposed an ineffectual curfew and shut down almost all Internet connectivity in the country.

Peter Bright, writing at Ars Technica, described it: "In response to increasing civil unrest, the Egyptian government appears to have disabled almost all Internet connectivity with the rest of the world. The Internet's global routing table, which is used by Internet routers to determine where to send traffic, has had virtually every Egypt-bound route withdrawn, giving the Internet traffic no path either into or out of the country."

Lines of communication are vital in any kind of large-scale conflict. The Internet could allow the anti-Mubarak forces to communicate with sympathizers outside Egypt more easily than many other communication options. But this might be the most extreme move any government under siege has made. Bright reports that civil unrest in Tunisia recently led only to the blocking of a few specific sites and that Iran's government responded to unrest in 2009 by throttling, but not blocking, Internet access.

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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