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Chaos and destruction in Egypt as nationwide Internet ban continues until further notice

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 access.  

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 users.  

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: 

The 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  The use of dial-up and satellite ISPs offer users older, outdated methods of access with the outside world.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.





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