Egyptian government orders Internet blackout amid protests

By on January 28, 2011, 1:27 PM
In response to civil protests around the country, the Egyptian government has shut down most of the Internet communications in and out of the country. According to reports, an initial shutdown earlier this week temporarily affected connections to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which were used by civil groups to organize protests. Then around Friday midnight Cairo time, the government ordered Internet service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet.

Renesys, an U.S.-based company that monitors Internet traffic, was the first to report the unusual behavior, observing the simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table.

"Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But 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. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air." This message was posted on Renesys' blog at 22:34 GMT. Based on continuous monitoring throughout the day, it's estimated that 93% of Egypt-based networks are still unreachable.


The blackout which might be the largest of its kind so far, has also affected cell phone communication. Vodafone, one of the wireless providers in the country, disclosed this morning that "all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in select areas."

Totalitarian regimes are known for controlling media exposure when widespread protests occur, but with the proliferation of real-time web-based communication this is simply another step in the ladder for total media and civil control. You can find live updates on the Egypt protests here and here.
Image credit: Arbor Networks




User Comments: 30

Got something to say? Post a comment
TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Cutting off the Internet and phone services is about the quickest way to amp up the discontent of the disgruntled population. This is going to get really ugly, really fast.

Guest said:

Unfortunately this is the kind of democracy that the U.S government is supporting in the Middle east where Husni Moubarak the Egyptian dictator is the U.S favorite allied in the Middle East.

Raswan Raswan said:

^ it's that kind of oversimplification that doesn't help anyone or fix anything. The situation is, as in every case around the world, a lot more nuanced. Even if you do it for beneficent reasons and with the best of intentions, you're not doing anyone any favors. Just saying.

Guest said:

Hope the Egyptian public castrate the government for this stupid bid for control over the people.

Raswan Raswan said:

TomSEA said:

Cutting off the Internet and phone services is about the quickest way to amp up the discontent of the disgruntled population. This is going to get really ugly, really fast.

I agree Tom. Should be interesting to see what happens in the next 24 hours.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

TomSEA said:

Cutting off the Internet and phone services is about the quickest way to amp up the discontent of the disgruntled population. This is going to get really ugly, really fast.

Fuel to the fire, i agree.

Guest said:

As someone mentioned in previous post this is the democracy deployed in the Middle East by the US government...

We could all see that in the dithering speech of US secretary Mrs Clinton regarding demonstrations in Egypt...

But informations are very fluid these days and it will reach everyone...It is like a water - it always finds a way out...

taobert said:

Sounds so Orwellian. Why doesn't the Egyption government just take a page from the playbook of the United States and sell more booze, sports, and sex & entertainment to control the masses. Seems to be working GRRR-EAAAT!

b44g6 said:

taobert said:

Sounds so Orwellian. Why doesn't the Egyption government just take a page from the playbook of the United States and sell more booze, sports, and sex & entertainment to control the masses. Seems to be working GRRR-EAAAT!

where do u think the US resources for "booze, sports, and sex & entertainment" are comming from!!??, its comming from the sweat of the civilians in countries like egypt who work like slaves just to get in return as much as to keep them alive and work, thats the US way,

I hope the egyptian people prevail in the fight.

But i agree that cutting of the internet and phone services was a very bad move,

Guest said:

My fellow USA citizens. The current and past administration have considered a Internet Kill switch for the USA. Remember these days.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmm I wonder what the US response would be if this was Iran or China?

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Ha, the President has fired all of his cabinet members and is talking about a reform. If you want to see how much worse things got after the blackout, check out the link below...wow:

[link]

Leeky Leeky said:

Ha, the President has fired all of his cabinet members and is talking about a reform. If you want to see how much worse things got after the blackout, check out the link below...wow:

[link]

Thats some serious stuff!

Its obviously clear that no internet, phones, the military involvement (and curfew) and the president not stepping down are just making matters worse!

I hope it doesn't get any worse to be honest, its not good.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Indeed. The video just got worse and worse. It was like a small group of people turning into a large group and by the end it was as if people from 2 cities had all come together in the same place (without the aid of the internet and cellphones). They're burning armored vehicles!!! And the army guys are just sitting there doing nothing even as protesters climb on their tanks and trucks. Come on mister Egyptian president. Even I can see where this is going. If you want to calm these people down, either get out of office or immediately start making visible changes. Otherwise you're going to be on everyone's hit list.

I'm here in Houston, TX and there are American/Egyptians here standing in our streets protesting (peacefully) outside of 1 of the 4 Egyptians Consulates in the US. Pretty bad when your people who aren't even in your country are still protesting.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The only problem with affairs like this is usually they usher in a government hostile to the US.

When the Shah of Iran went...... Enter the Ayatollah

When the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan......(with our help)...Enter the Taliban..

When Fidel Castro came into power..... he brought the Russians with him....

The list goes on and on, those 3 instances just stuck out in my mind....

As far as this issue in Egypt, it's a fair bet that Islamic fundamentalists will turn this situation to their advantage, and make a big grab for power.

Decimae said:

captaincranky said:

The only problem with affairs like this is usually they usher in a government hostile to the US.

When the Shah of Iran went...... Enter the Ayatollah

When the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan......(with our help)...Enter the Taliban..

When Fidel Castro came into power..... he brought the Russians with him....

The list goes on and on, those 3 instances just stuck out in my mind....

As far as this issue in Egypt, it's a fair bet that Islamic fundamentalists will turn this situation to their advantage, and make a big grab for power.

A governement hostile to the US =! a bad government. I would really understand being hostile to the US when they support your dictator. Anyway, I don't think muslim extremists will be able to take over, since this is not a religious revolution, but one of freedoms.

Leeky Leeky said:

They're burning armored vehicles!!! And the army guys are just sitting there doing nothing even as protesters climb on their tanks and trucks.

You ask any soldier, Marine, or ground troop what they'd do and it would be the same. Military should not be allowed into cities, unless it is a warzone. Civilian uprising is not a war, its a civilian dispute, not military.

The president by having them there is effectively asking them to use lethal force against the very people they come from, with most likely identical feelings about the situation as themselves.

Only bad can come of it, because when they do finally open fire, it'll be a bloodbath.

That's assuming they'll even open fire in the first place - I certainly wouldn't injure, or even kill my own people.

A governement hostile to the US =! a bad government.

I'm British (United Kingdom) and I really don't understand the whole "Hostile to the USA = bad goverment" phrases I continually read.

I don't wish to cause offence, but maybe the US government should be more concerned with keeping there own house and neighbourhood in order, and worry a little less about what every other country in the world is doing.

Granted some need watching, but the USA cannot physically go to war with every single country it doesn't agree with - Its an improbability, and all its doing is causing its own citizens to be killed by the thousands around the world.

The "war on terror" is another example; Has it actually really achieved anything? Has Afghanistan achieved anything? Does the USA really need to fight this war? Will it ever be a success when thousands on both sides have lost their lives, because that will always overshadow any positive result in my eyes.

As an outsider (I'm not American) it kinda looks like the late US presidents have in effect created a giant bullseye and are asking anyone who dares to take a shot. Maybe I'm wrong completely, but a lot of people are dying and not a lot in my eyes is being achieved in the name of those people.

This is my own personal view, and probably somewhat inaccurate as I'm sure you all have a better understanding of what your country does. I live in the UK, so only have so much I can see in every day life. So this is purely my own personal feelings on the matter.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Leeky said:

I don't wish to cause offence, but maybe the US government should be more concerned with keeping there own house and neighbourhood in order, and worry a little less about what every other country in the world is doing.

Granted some need watching, but the USA cannot physically go to war with every single country it doesn't agree with - Its an improbability, and all its doing is causing its own citizens to be killed by the thousands around the world.

I'm pure American...and I completely agree with you. We have corruption throughout our own government, we have people living on the streets, people working 2 jobs and still can't support their families, and the list goes on and on. If we stopped going to war with anyone who we despised, I bet we wouldn't be as broke as we are now.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'm pure American...and I completely agree with you. We have corruption throughout our own government, we have people living on the streets, people working 2 jobs and still can't support their families, and the list goes on and on. If we stopped going to war with anyone who we despised, I bet we wouldn't be as broke as we are now.
If you'd think this out a bit more, you'd realize that at least part of the reason people need to work two jobs, is because we're federally subsidizing the breeding of the people who are living "in the streets". Some "in the streets", (like this golden voiced clown they just attempted to dry out, (at taxpayer expense)), are there by virtue of their own personal failures. The rest of those,"living in the streets", are much more likely to be living in public housing, (at your expense). You're correct about the corruption, at least in public housing. One of the officials making $400,000.00 a year, was shown at home with his Lambourghini parked out front.

In the neighborhood I regrettably hail from, the average age the crack babies go on Social Security, is about 13.

And yes, George W Bush did piss away Social Security funds in Iraq, to no good avail.

I'm British (United Kingdom) and I really don't understand the whole "Hostile to the USA = bad goverment" phrases I continually read.

I don't wish to cause offence, but maybe the US government should be more concerned with keeping there own house and neighbourhood in order, and worry a little less about what every other country in the world is doing.

Granted some need watching, but the USA cannot physically go to war with every single country it doesn't agree with - Its an improbability, and all its doing is causing its own citizens to be killed by the thousands around the world.

The "war on terror" is another example; Has it actually really achieved anything? Has Afghanistan achieved anything? Does the USA really need to fight this war? Will it ever be a success when thousands on both sides have lost their lives, because that will always overshadow any positive result in my eyes.

As an outsider (I'm not American) it kinda looks like the late US presidents have in effect created a giant bullseye and are asking anyone who dares to take a shot. Maybe I'm wrong completely, but a lot of people are dying and not a lot in my eyes is being achieved in the name of those people.

Well, we haven't had another "9-11", and you haven't had your first. Where should we lay the credit, (or blame), for that?

This is my own personal view, and probably somewhat inaccurate as I'm sure you all have a better understanding of what your country does. I live in the UK, so only have so much I can see in every day life. So this is purely my own personal feelings on the matter.

The simple fact of the matter here, is the Egyptian people are acting in concert for the first time, in an ad hoc fashion. Our CIA, and Muslim extremists groups, constantly try to steer the direction of outcome in this type of action, to their own advantage. Call me an old foolish patriot, by I simply hope our side determines the outcome, and political direction of the new government, should it be necessary.

As someone who comes from an already $5.00 + gallon region of the world, you should probably hope this calms down, and the Christians win this crusade, since you'll soon be paying $7.50 if it doesn't, and some newly minted Muslim extremist government will be sending terrorists to downtown London, hoping to finish the job started by Guy Falkes.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Captaincranky said:

Well, we haven't had another "9-11", and you haven't had your first. Where should we lay the credit, (or blame), for that?

We did have the "7-7" London bombings, ok maybe not the same death toll as on "9-11", but it hurt the UK all the same as much as a nation. It's MI5, MI6 and the CIA that are doing the real protecting here behind the scenes (in my opinion).

Leeky Leeky said:

Well, we haven't had another "9-11", and you haven't had your first. Where should we lay the credit, (or blame), for that?

We didn't have anything on the same scale as 9-11, but we did have the London bombings as well.

Its nothing on the scale of 9-11 I agree, but we were targeted by terrorists as well.

The problem with the terrorists you hunt is they are a minority. Countless innocent people have lost their lives, but its a very very fine line to walk when you take yet more innocent (as well as those guilty) lives in retribution.

Taking the bombings in my country as an example; I don't see how taking more lives just because they did is right - It does no justice to those who died in the first place, and one bad act does not justify another one.

The simple fact of the matter here, is the Egyptian people are acting in concert for the first time, in an ad hoc fashion. Our CIA, and Muslim extremists groups, constantly try to steer the direction of outcome in this type of action, to their own advantage. Call me an old foolish patriot, by I simply hope our side determines the outcome, and political direction of the new government, should it be necessary.

But is asserting control using your CIA or other means really the answer?

I don't see why the USA should choose to make it there special task to do so - From an outsider it looks more like pressure to "convert" than a genuine attempt to help.

Maybe with your patriotic view you consider this differently, but I fail to see why this is acceptable. Its almost like the school bully when you were in primary school (sorry don't know the US version of this).

As someone who comes from an already $5.00 + gallon region of the world, you should probably hope this calms down, and the Christians win this crusade, since you'll soon be paying $7.50 if it doesn't, and some newly minted Muslim extremist government will be sending terrorists to downtown London, hoping to finish the job started by Guy Falkes.

The oil economy is not controlled by extremists. They may harbour themselves in countries that are, but I do not see how this makes any difference whatsoever.

Most Muslim people are innocent, and care just as much as people of other ethnic backgrounds. Being Muslim does not make you an extremist, the select few take those values to the extreme, but they are a minority.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Quote

We did have the "7-7" London bombings, ok maybe not the same death toll as on "9-11", but it hurt the UK all the same as much as a nation. It's MI5, MI6 and the CIA that are doing the real protecting here behind the scenes (in my opinion).
Yes Benny, you get the gold star on that paper

We didn't have anything on the same scale as 9-11, but we did have the London bombings as well.

Its nothing on the scale of 9-11 I agree, but we were targeted by terrorists as well.

The problem with the terrorists you hunt is they are a minority. Countless innocent people have lost their lives, but its a very very fine line to walk when you take yet more innocent (as well as those guilty) lives in retribution.

Well then, I'll call my congressman, and tell him that we should stop hunting them, especially on your behalf.

Taking the bombings in my country as an example; I don't see how taking more lives just because they did is right - It does no justice to those who died in the first place, and one bad act does not justify another one.
Well then, you should do nothing in response, save for throwing another stuffed animal and a candle on the pile.

But is asserting control using your CIA or other means really the answer?
Is it the answer? No, but it is by far the lesser of two evils.

I don't see why the USA should choose to make it there special task to do so - From an outsider it looks more like pressure to "convert" than a genuine attempt to help.
And this doggerel is coming from the heirs of the authors of the crusades?

Maybe with your patriotic view you consider this differently, but I fail to see why this is acceptable. Its almost like the school bully when you were in primary school (sorry don't know the US version of this).
Ha, ha, that's funny. I suppose I could say that when you lose all your Imperial power, you can always fall back on idealism.

The oil economy is not controlled by extremists. They may harbour themselves in countries that are, but I do not see how this makes any difference whatsoever.
No, the oil economy is controlled by the hysteria of the world market, in response to current social conditions. Unless you are living in a vacuum, you'd notice that oil went to 90 bucks a barrel yesterday, in response to the problems in Egypt.

Most Muslim people are innocent, and care just as much as people of other ethnic backgrounds. Being Muslim does not make you an extremist, the select few take those values to the extreme, but they are a minority.
Indeed, most Muslim people are sheep, as are the rest of the human race. And while it only happens from time to time, the herd panics. That's when the wolfs step in decide where and how they should be re-herded. And say what you like, I hope our wolves win!

Now, do us both a favor, and read a bit about the fall of the Shah of Iran, and the still continuing political and economic consequences of that. Better still, ask Jimmy Carter how that "helped" his presidency. He took the "idealistic" approach, and did nothing.

The Iranians got rid of their mean old dictator, and embraced an even meaner theocracy. (In metaphorical terms, our wolves lost).

Is this where I get told I don't know when to quit?

Leeky Leeky said:

Is this where I get told I don't know when to quit?

Nope, unfortunately not on this occasion.

I don't mind a healthy discussion, or a difference of opinion. We're from other sides of the world, have different views, and have different values.

Not agreeing with you doesn't mean I don't respect your comments. I'll take your advice and have a bit of a read up.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Leeky said:

Nope, unfortunately not on this occasion.

I agree....You just can't argue with a good debate sometimes. (Oxymoron? )

Zecias said:

Decimae said:

captaincranky said:

The only problem with affairs like this is usually they usher in a government hostile to the US.

When the Shah of Iran went...... Enter the Ayatollah

When the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan......(with our help)...Enter the Taliban..

When Fidel Castro came into power..... he brought the Russians with him....

The list goes on and on, those 3 instances just stuck out in my mind....

As far as this issue in Egypt, it's a fair bet that Islamic fundamentalists will turn this situation to their advantage, and make a big grab for power.

A governement hostile to the US =! a bad government. I would really understand being hostile to the US when they support your dictator. Anyway, I don't think muslim extremists will be able to take over, since this is not a religious revolution, but one of freedoms.

when the russians took over afghanistani wasn't about religion either. people just wanted to be free from the russians and were happy that the taliban took over; until they started religious genocide.

aj_the_kidd said:

Its stories like this which makes me grateful that I live in Australia. Democracy may not be perfect but its working pretty good here, even with all the booze, sports, and sex & entertainment

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Its stories like this which makes me grateful that I live in Australia. Democracy may not be perfect but its working pretty good here, even with all the booze, sports, and sex & entertainment
Huh....? I thought that booze, sports, sex and entertainment are the very essence of democracy....!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Update; I resurrected this thread to illustrate what I've been saying all along, extremist groups are fanning the flames in Egypt from the shadows.

If any of you are still harboring idealistic or (IMHO) naive ideas that these people aren't being caused to "stampede", as it were, then you should have a look at this BBC News page.

It appears the "Muslim Brotherhood" (a banned Muslim extremist group), is going to "condescend" (translation, "do everybody a big favor),by stepping in to "negotiate" the removal of the Mubarak government.

[link]

And the attempt to force the creation of another Islamic theocracy, has possibly begun.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

I was afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood would fill the power vacuum; they're practically another version of the Iranian fascist state and Egypt's been their seat of power for years.

I'm a Muslim, but I hate governments like Iran and especially Saudi Arabia, that claim to espouse Islamic ideals, but run a police state with their own agenda in mind. Islam does not preach intolerance, contrary to what may be portrayed otherwise.

On the flipside, is dial-up still the only way to get online in Egypt?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They had the second in command of the Muslim Brotherhood on the UK daily politics show a few days back...Very cool customer if you ask me (cool as in answering the questions very well).

It does look sad for Egypt at the minute, i hope the US gets involved more before it's too late.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.