Internet Switched Off: How the Egyptian Gov’t Did It
Amid massive protests in Egypt this week, the Egyptian government took steps to sever communications with the outside world by switching off nearly all connections to the internet. This has the effect of stopping outgoing (and in-going) communications via applications such as Twitter as well as basic email, Facebook, and wireless telephones. Bobbie Johnson has posted an article on GigaOM that describes some of how such a severance would or could be done. According to the information in that article, Egyptian officials at least had the forethought to not stop through-traffic to other countries downstream of their position in the internet infrastructure.
As certain groups in the United States are trying to get approval for an “internet kill-switch” in the U.S., Egypt serves as a prime example of why the internet should remain a free and open channel of communication. Homeland security is important for every nation, but stifling the citizens within the nation is not and should not be an option available to governments.