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  • Internet Shutdowns Drive Protestors in Middle East

    Shutting down the Internet did precious little good for Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. It is not likely to do Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi much good either. In fact, it appeared to intensify the determination of the Arab protesters, who found themselves cut off from the world. Yet on Friday, that was exactly what the Qadhafi regime did, followed by an intermission on Saturday. This is based on information from Arbor Networks, which collected data from 30 Internet providers around the world.

    The fact is that Internet access is now sufficiently widespread in the Middle East to have acquired almost the statute of natural law. Philosophers will argue whether such a right exists, but the feeling is clearly there among the Middle East’s sea of youth that connectivity is right up there with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    “Frankly, I didn’t participate in Jan. 25 protests, but the Web sites’ blockade and communications blackout on Jan. 28 was one of the main reasons I, and many others, were pushed to the streets,” The New York Times quoted Ramez Mohamed, a 26-year-old computer science graduate. “It was the first time for me to feel digitally disabled,” he wrote. “Imagine sitting at your home, having no single connection with the outer world. I took the decision, ‘this is nonsense, we are not sheep in their herd,’ I went down and joined the protests.”

    While the Internet was offline in Egypt, protesters discovered in the streets a unity they had so far experienced only electronically, a “street Twitter,” as another blogger put it.

    An ad hoc approach to Internet control does very little good. Indeed, even a tightly controlled country like Iran is hard to keep completely clamped down. Protests there are continuing, even while the government is attacking the websites of Voice of America, one of the few trusted sources of information in the country. On Monday the VOA websites, including those of the Persian News Network, were hacked by a group proclaiming itself the Iranian Cyber Army. This leaves in doubt the wisdom of the management’s proposal to close down much of its radio broadcasting and move it to the Internet.

    In Libya, as elsewhere in the Middle East, the Internet is emerging as a tool for communication, but not the only one by far. It is, however, enormously popular in a region where blogs have blossomed as nowhere else on earth. Leaders have messed with it at their peril.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Internet Shutdowns Drive Protestors in Middle East

    1. Alexandria, Egypt says:

      what is going on is really different from what happened in egypt. Every nation gives different picture but do we share something

      would a revolution happen in the united states; or when it will?; sounds weird. may i ask you some questions?

      I believe in democracy, justice, civilization, and equal opportunity and those are main motives for Egypt revolution now, I've been to the united states twice and spent a few months over there and I'm a good follower of news, different views and political analysis for different areas around the world.

      Do you really believe that you have equal opportunity

      Do you really believe that you have justice and your country stands out beside justice.

      Do you really have democracy

      I want to know if money spent in election campaigns did not affect who are the candidates you will choose from or the one you choose from available candidates

      Do you know the truth or you know the truth that the media is telling you and the media who controls it

      Money, Media, Lobbies, and corruption exist now in the united states may be bigger than any time before or the means used to know it exist are still free and not controlled firmly

      May be I'm wrong But I'm looking for understanding. I'm against nationalism and i believe in human are all one family. Thank you after all.

    2. jeremy, auckland says:

      It seems that cutting internet actually makes people following news data in their own countries go out and physically interact with each other… given that Libya has been in its repressed state for so long and with groups for change having to be so clandestine under their rules, this would actually make for a worse reaction for the "authorities" than leaving it switched on..

      However the main issue to me is what is in hand to replace the status quo and avoid short term reprisals and vendettas to get back to a true state – I am not convinced that a western form of democracy is the best solution, but that a hybrid that fits culturally with the country may have a greater chance of lasting success – bear also in mind that the state apparatus is concentrated in a few hands.. so there may need to be certain official retained to effect the process..

    3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Internet Shutdowns Drive Protestors in Middle East | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    4. JudgeRight, Californ says:

      In answer to Alexandria;

      Your assessment is not so far from the reality. Many believe our freedom of expression is being undermined. The truth is the media, the schools, movies and many more venues of information are controlled. They are not controlled by one central power (the state) but they are controlled by political advocates of one and only one interest. That interest is communist in nature whether those advocates realize it or not. However, they are not totally controlled. Our president and congress have threatened to install laws which would, in effect, kill the other venues of information but that would be the point at which Americans would hit the street in defiant protest, at least at this point in time.

      Also, the president and congress are acting in direct opposition to our constitution which limits their authority and powers. That is frightening and people are beyond noticing and are now acting to bring government back under that authority. It may be too late due to the actions the government is taking with our economy. They are as destructive to our economy as were the governments of the Wymar Republic and Zimbabwe in printing currency and flooding the market with dollars until they are worth less and eventually become worthless.

      Anarchy may come to the United States and that is my second largest fear. The first fear is that the succession following that anarchy is the same as happens everywhere else in the world rather than what formed this country in the first place. What produced our governing documents was personal adherence to our religious foundation by each and every one of those founders and/or personal knowledge and experience with an unjust system of taxation, but a system also somewhat subjected to the accountability of our religion.

      The reason this has not happened anywhere else in global history is because no other foundational accountability (religion) calls for grace and mercy in our dealing with one another as our God has shown grace and mercy to each of us on a personal basis. Without that depth and knowledge of men's weaknesses, without that caution of lending powers to others in service to us, no one can design a system of governance that does not wind down into despotism.

      Our failing is in the public ignorance of these founding principals and the official removal of the source of that knowledge (the Bible) from our institutions of knowledge. Until that is rectified, I hold little hope that America's shining example of free will, government accountability to the people, and full property rights will ever exist on earth again except by the providential hand of God. Islam is rising. Everywhere Islam reigns supreme, that culture shortly falls into the hands of the extremists and sinks into the mire of repression and ignorance. The only way this does not happen is when a tyrant rules over the extremists.

      I do not criticize in ignorance or anger, rather in great sadness. I do not see every Muslim as an enemy and I do not hate Muslims. I am simply examining the history and effects of our various faiths on their respective cultures and note the likely path my own culture is taking. We will shortly be the People's Republic of America or we will shortly be Islamic due to deep rooted internal influences unless we take some drastic actions to correct our direction very soon.

    5. Levi Edgar says:

      which used the station’s offices in the Docklands as a set. Other features were the weather,

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