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What Will Egypt Do Without the Internet?

How Will Businesses Be Affected?

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Update 02/02/11: The Internet is back up in Egypt according to numerous reports.

Original: According to numerous reports, the Egyptian government has shut down Internet access for 80,000,000 people. The same goes for SMS communication.

Internet Intelligence firm Renesys, which considers itself the authority in global, real time Internet intelligence, reported last night:

In an action unprecedented in Internet history, 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. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers. Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

Here’s a small sampling of the Twitter conversation that’s happening. As you can imagine, the tweets are pouring in rapidly. 
Twitter Conversation about Egypt
Apart from the obvious suppression of free expression that comes from this story, a huge concern is what it will mean for the Egyptian economy and businesses. As Renesys notes, nothing like this has happened before in the history of the Internet, so it’s hard to speculate on the severity of the ramifications, but there’s no question that they are huge. 

Stories will certainly continue to pile up quickly. If you thought Germany’s approach to Google Analytics was questionable, what do you make of this? 

A fresh Wired piece shows that the Internet shut-down has done little to curb mass protests, if that was the goal.

What Will Egypt Do Without the Internet?
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  • http://www.mcssafety.com Guest

    Mubarak has gone way too far with this lockdown and the backlash will be huge. Modern economies can not function without the internet and Egypt’s will soon collapse without it.

  • http://www.fixpcfreeze.com Mathews

    Economy of a country today depends heavily on the Internet. Shutting down internet means crashing your countries Economy. Venezuela is now celebrating its new cable that will boost its economy and here is a country that is willfully trying to freeze up and crash its own country and economy. I pity the Egyptians. But I am also sure there is a solid reason behind this Internet disconnect. Why should a government do it otherwise. May be some one can tell us the reason why they did it.

  • http://brianelwinpomeroy.posterous.com/ Brian Pomeroy

    Internet connection was a tease that most middle-class, world-wide, will see as government control over everything. I believe that the main issue of the Internet is how MUCH the wealthy take from others and THAT is what the riots are about. People learning how much they have taken from others.
    Brian Elwin Pomeroy