Egypt Shuts Down All Internet and Cellphone Services!

About a half-hour past midnight Friday morning in Egypt, the Internet went dead.

Almost simultaneously, the handful of companies that pipe the Internet into and out of Egypt went dark as protesters were gearing up for a fresh round of demonstrations calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule, experts said.

Egyptian authorities asked mobile operators to "turn down the network totally," said Vittorio Colao, chief executive of U.K.-based Vodafone Group PLC, which owns 55% of Egypt's largest carrier, Vodafone Egypt.

Egypt has apparently done what many technologists thought was unthinkable for any country with a major Internet economy: It unplugged itself entirely from the Internet to try and silence dissent.

Starting at 10:12 p.m. local time on Thursday night, Telecom Egypt went dark, followed by the four remaining main carriers over the next 13 minutes, said Jim Cowie, chief technology officer of Renesys Corp., a network security firm in Manchester, N.H. By 10:25 p.m., the country no longer existed on the Internet, he said.

Other countries attempting to undermine or contain political uprisings in recent years—from Myanmar in 2007 to Iran and China in 2009—have also clamped down on Internet access and cellphone use.

But Egypt's crackdown appears unique in both scale and synchronization, particularly for a country with such an advanced infrastructure with so many providers, according to Internet security experts.

"What's shocking about this is that they didn't just take down a certain domain name or block a website—they took the whole Internet down,"
said Mr. Cowie.

Experts say it’s unlikely that what’s happened in Egypt could happen in the United States because the U.S. has numerous Internet providers and ways of connecting to the Internet. Coordinating a simultaneous shutdown would be a massive undertaking.

“It can’t happen here,”
said Jim Cowie, the chief technology officer and a co-founder of Renesys, a network security firm in Manchester, N.H., that studies Internet disruptions.
“How many people would you have to call to shut down the U.S. Internet? Hundreds, thousands maybe? We have enough Internet here that we can have our own Internet. If you cut it off, that leads to a philosophical question: Who got cut off from the Internet, us or the rest of the world?”


Hmm...Mr. Jim Cowie may say it will be hard to shut off the U.S. internet but it is VERY possible our internet could get cut off at anytime. The FCC here has already passed new "Net Neutrality" rules - take a look.

What would YOU do without the internet?

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