Civil unrest in Egypt has been so severe that the national
government cut access to the internet on Friday. The last working ISP in Egypt suddenly lost
service on Monday evening, and the country is completely dark.
At the risk of severe economic suffering and criticism from
world leaders, the Egyptian government preventing web access limits
organization and communication between protesters, supporters claim.
Shortly after midnight on Friday, 93% of the nation's
internet access suddenly shut off, however, users are finding ways to get
around the ban. Major ISPs across the
country were left scrambling to explain to frantic users that their servers
were also taken down, though a few ISPs remained available.
The Noor Group, a small ISP responsible for keeping the Egyptian
stock exchange online, was available over the Internet, but was shut down
Monday evening (local time).
The nation's internet ban will continue this week, even with
a growing number of citizens finding new ways to communicate without direct
Some users have turned to dial-up modems to connect to modem
pools located in other parts of the region outside of Egypt. Other users may find ways to access the internet,
but voice calls and text/video messaging are expected to remain unavailable to most
President Obama released a statement calling for Egypt to
stop the active Internet ban as soon as possible. Here is what Obama had to say when asked
about the current situation in Egypt, including the ban:
people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to
peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech and the ability to
determine their own destiny. These are human rights and the United States will
stand up for them everywhere. I also call upon the Egyptian government to
reverse the actions that they've taken to interfere with access to the
internet, to cellphone service and to social networks that do so much to connect
people in the 21st century.
As protests continue in Cairo and throughout the country,
the Internet will remain a vital tool to organize and promote efforts. The use of dial-up and satellite ISPs offer
users older, outdated methods of access with the outside world. Cell phone coverage is working again, and
landline telephone service was never eliminated.