Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt goes dark on the web

There's a lot of unrest going on in Egypt right now. Riots are getting out of hand. It is said that online social media was extensively used to coordinate and plan all this. So the government came up with this novel idea of cutting off Internet connections throughout the country.

Credit: Arbor Networks (click image for bigger view, duh!)

Ingenious, isn't it?

The four major ISPs, Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, and Etisalat Misr have been ordered to drop their Internet connection services. Most part of Egypt has been thus, disconnected from the world. Egyptian sites cannot be accessed now. It's almost like the country has been wiped off from the face of the world.

Internet monitoring firm Renesys says (via PCWorld):
"The Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet... 
...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."
PCWorld says that 88 percent of Egypt's networks are gone. But there is some connectivity left. Gizmodo's Adrian Covert wrote today how you can check for yourself that Egypt has got disconnected. Read the post over here.

Credit: Truth Alliance Network
News spread across the Internet like wildfire. Almost all the tech blogs I follow are reporting on this. If not, they will very soon, that I'm sure. This is really an unprecedented happening in the world of the Internet. Never before has the web been completely blocked by an entire country. There are some good people who are even getting volunteers to help get the Internet back to Egypt (illegally, but for democracy). I found this during my research. Looks like you can help too, by donating some of your bandwidth and computer power. I didn't read through how exactly it worked, and their explanation wasn't clear enough.

If you're reading this blog, then the web is probably a big thing for you. You can probably not imagine yourself spending a day (okay, a week if you like) without the Internet. Think for a while and come up with all the stuff you do in a typical day that has to do with the Internet. You'll probably get a pretty long list. No communications, no school research (or plagiarism), no fun, nothing!

Oh, and did I mention that mobile phones aren't working as well? If you're reading this post around the time it was written, you'll want to see the buzz about all this right here. Want some more fun stuff? Check out these Egypt Internet stats someone has put together right here.