Egypt “switches Internet off” amidst protests

Darren Allan

January 28, 2011

The Egyptian government has made a worrying and startling move, by essentially shutting down the majority of Internet access in the country.

According to a report in the Guardian, all the major Egyptian ISPs closed down their networks to traffic last night.

Andree Toonk at BGPmon, an outfit which analyses net traffic, reckons that almost 90% of Egyptian net traffic has been stifled.

He told the newspaper: “What’s different in this case as compared to other ‘similar’ cases is that all of the major ISP’s seem to be almost completely offline.”

“Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were typically blocked, in this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISPs to stop routing all networks.”

The move has been made in relation to protests against the ruling government, which have been building momentum all week – and a big demonstration is expected today.

And of course, much of these protests have been organised on the web, so the government is attempting to pull the Internet rug from under the protesters’ feet.


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