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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Internet feeds unrest in Egypt, Egypt turns off the Internet


The protests in both Tunisia and Egypt have cast the spotlight on the role of the Internet in political unrest. Egypt has gone as far as to  cut off nearly all Internet traffic into and out of the country (along with mobile communications) in the largest blackout of its kind, following mass demonstrations calling for President Hosni Mubarek to resign. Activists continue to figure out ways for people in Egypt to send information, such as the use of satellite Internet services.
How significant do you think the role of the Internet is in catalyzing political change? Do you think people are more likely to protest if they have the inspiration and instructions for doing so at the tips of their fingers?
wikiHow is not without its own activist resources. Our article on How to Start a Revolution has almost 60,000 views. People have also written guides on how todeal with riot control agentsmake protest signs, and charter a bus specifically for a protest. And it probably won't be long before people start working on a guide for How to Use Social Media to Spur Political Change.
Filed under Uncategorized

11 Responses to The Internet feeds unrest in Egypt, Egypt turns off the Internet (blog)

  1. rene
    If anything, internet helps to maintain inefficient governments at bay. It is not coincidence that all current protests backed up by blogs have occurred in totalitarian states. People using web technologies tend to be more highly educated, hence less tolerant of bad governments, and therefore utilize web means to demonstrate their disapproval. Moreover, governments also count on advanced repression and mass-control technologies which can only be countered by the general population having means to organize in the event that governments turn corrupt.
  2. Toemoss
    Just think if Paul Revere would have had access to the web; Tweet: "The redcoats are coming! The redcoats are coming!" He would have spared that poor horse!
    I am surprised that governments have not shut down the internet more often, as China did during their Olympics fiasco & now as Egypt has. Or, maybe they do… how would we know?
    President Obama seems very comfortable sending information via the web. Perhaps that is the other side of the coin; more information being dispersed more quickly. I am sure it will become more used, (& more twisted than it already is) as an information source.
  3. Mike
    The internet is useful in organizing protests, no doubt. But the more organized a protest is, the less legitimacy it has (or at least is perceived to have). If one person organizes a rally of 10,000 people, it might just be that one person's ideas and values that are being expressed. If 10,000 people spontaneously decide to express the same ideas at the same time, then that is a much stronger form of expression. The Internet tends to displace the stronger form by promoting the weaker.
    • rene
      Good point. Although you might be working on the assumption that individuals are mindless sheep, which could only happen under totalitarian states. If the general population has complete access to the internet, there will always exist diverse opinions on many issues, which can only stimulate individualism and debate, hence democracy. If government can have the benefits of technology, it is only fair that citizens have the same capabilities.
    • goplayer
      Mike, you seem to think that people are just sheep with no brain that would follow anyone that appears to be a leader.
      The power of the internet in organizing is that it permits precisely that which is absent and prohibited in totalitarian and despotic regimes: communication and exchange of ideas. This is possible because the internet offers a some form of safety (an illusion of anonymity).
      What happened in Egypt and Tunisia and elsewhere where the internet played a vital role as a means of communication, did not happen overnight. Discussions were going on for years and a movement was built as a result those discussions. The explosion happened when the conditions were right.
      The power of the internet and especially social media, is that it equalizes the field by giving voice to the voiceless and by connecting them together making them realize that they have the power because they realize that they are not alone.
  4. Thomas
    What other choice does one have but to depend on the most open outlet and inlet of information? Obviously there's a huge margin for misinformation, but with all of the guidelines and moderation that T.V. news and radio news has to follow, what other choice would a desperate, warn, and beaten society have but to take to the streets in protest, and encourage one another through the only unfiltered medium? 40+ years ago this was impossible to do, and even after that point the world really wasn't as socially connected as it is now. Such as it is, abusive governance is going to be a difficult thing to keep hidden. The thing that baffles me about this is you have tens of thousands of protesters, begging the democratic world to recognize their plight as an "act now" situation, and we see our own leaders talking about private meetings and "turning the internet back on." What's the deal? They don't want their d@$*ed internet, I they want freedom of choice! Something basic and real to everyone on earth. Why do the good, caring, loving humans always have to go against their nature just to keep what they were always meant to have? Why do we always have to make a lot of noise to accomplish what is an obvious evil in the world? These empty-souled dictators dedicate their lives to ruling and crushing as many as they can, and the rest of the world sits around waiting for those being ruled and crushed to finally raise up and put them in their place. Its like its never your problem until your the one being beaten and raped. Where is your spine, Free World? Are you really so consumed by your position that you would rather millions suffer than have to try?
    What are you doing, Obama? Your words mean nothing unless you act! Diplomacy only goes so far. A friendly IM to Hosni2011, asking him to "Give 'em the nets back, lulz!" isn't going to fix this one. How important could it possibly be to remain the "do nothing but negotiate" President?
    Somebody do something, these people are getting beat just for asking for a new leader! No leader has the right to force his rule.
  5. David
    you can not blame the tools, it is the crafter to blame with what is given to him, not knowledge.
  6. David
    Education has nothing to do with internet use nor countries that have it. There are groups in which they teach their young how to create bombs. Irag is not an immensely intelligent country, nor Afghanistan, yet they teach destruction to their kids. A 5 yr old can build a bomb, a 5 yr old can access the internet.
    Power needs to be given back to the people, not just in Egypt, everywhere. The wealthy are already immoral or they would not be, or remain, wealthy. Give them what they want. It's their country, after all. The people make the country, and without them who will pay you? Resign, or answer on judgement day to all who die while you do nothing.
  7. Steve
    "The more organised a protest is, the less legitimacy it has" !!! THAT statement is just about worthy of the U.S. regime now in power. Mike you don't have an ounce of logic in your head.
    Only, well organised and popular protests are legitimate The rest are riots or college keg parties gone bad.
    Take a course in straight thinking or logic.
  8. R Johnson
    I'm a little afraid that the government regulation of the internet that just passed in this country to "equalize" internet advertising isn't a foot in the door to regulate a little more. I'm also disappointed that many sites chose to discriminate and deny service to wikileaks. Goplayer referred to the "illusion of anonymity." Illusion is right. The internet's roots were US military, and those roots are still there. So much like the "two way TV" from the anti-utopian book 1984, where anyone could be watching you from the other side without you knowing it. Granted, they're probably not. But the fact that the tools are there isn't reassuring. Government agencies are threatening their employees not to look up wikileaks on their home computers. If that isn't insinuating that they have a way of checking, I don't know that is! The internet is a great place for public debate, but it isn't as "safe" as one might think.
  9. rene
    I take back all that I've said previously. It turns out civil unrest in Egypt is based on religion, talking about mindless sheep. Same modus operandi as Iran's Islamic movement back in the 70′s, started out as a pseudo-democratic reform protest which served as cover for islamic intentions to grasp power. There is no clear leader in the uprising, same common denominator as Iran's past experience, this presents an opportunity for Islam to take hold on government. Let's hope the military remain in power, this being the best scenario under the circumstances.

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1 comment:

  1. There is more than the Internet for this and other regimes to fear. It is also noteworthy that turning of the internet merely forced more people into the streets to protest an obviously clueless police state. There are other big and surprising things afoot that most have missed. This is merely the early stage of a period of rapid change that will spill out of the Middle-Eas­t and sweep the entire globe.

    33rd Degree Secrets Published to Help Awaken World from Long Nightmare

    Now to see if US leaders can stay ahead of the pace of change that threatens to engulf them as well. Hang on to your seats, this train is about to accelerate rapidly.

    Here is Wisdom...


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