Egypt Turns Internet Back On For Same Reason It Was Turned Off: To Try To Quell Protests

from the well,-that-worked dept

As has been widely reported today, Egypt has rejoined the internet, after the government told ISPs that it was okay to reconnect to the world nearly a week after it shut off the internet. What's fascinating to me, however, is the basic thinking on both moves. The idea behind shutting down the internet (and mobile phone service) was to try to cut off the ability of protesters to communicate and organize, hoping that it would stifle the protests themselves. Of course, it seemed to only add to the fire, inciting even more anger towards the government, and contributing to even greater numbers of protests. So, now, the reasoning for removing the blocks... is basically the same thing. The government seems to think that letting people back onto the internet will also quell the protests. Perhaps they just shouldn't have turned the internet off in the first place. Either way, this seems like yet another example of governments realizing that it's a lot more difficult to "control" the public than they thought...


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  1.  
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    crade (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Well, if they hadn't shut off the Internet, they wouldn't be able to quell the protests by turning it back on :)

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    You make an adulterous point...

     

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  3.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    If only the french had modern communications during the french revolution. They could have flipped a switch and stopped it in its tracks.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Control... and 'the force'

    "Either way, this seems like yet another example of governments realizing that it's a lot more difficult to "control" the public than they thought..."
    Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
    -Mao Tse-Tung
    It's like chess, the only sure way to win is to play a perfect game and wait for your opponent to make a mistake. If possible, force your opponent to make a mistake without making one yourself.

    There only two things to understand about chess tactics:
    1) Control
    2) The threat of force can be as or more effective than force itself.

    Apparently, the leaders in Egypt do not play chess. Or rather, they do not play it well.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Why the hate?

    I don't understand the hate toward Mubarak. While he is a dictator, he supports peace in the region and is generally a moderate in an Islamic country. Isn't it a good thing that the US has supported him?

    If Mubarak was replaced by someone, perhaps more extremist, perhaps more antagonistic to Israel, wouldn't that make things worse? Just because a bunch of college kids can't get jobs, does that really mean it is time to destabilize the region?

     

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    Some Other Guy, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, they had a semaphore station network, I think, but AFAIK it was military-only, sort of like the proto-internet.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    I was in Iran during part of the 1978 / 1979 revolution.

    First, from stable government to stable government took over 2 years.

    Second, there were times when the phones work but there was no power or water. There were times when there was water and no phones or power. Then there were times when there was power and no phones or water. Then there were times when there was two of the three. Which two varied, You could walk into a room turn on the lights pick up the phone which would not work and immediately the lights would go out and the phone would work or vice verse. Some times when the phones would work you could out some times not just receive calls. Sometimes you would get a call from the states in the middle of the night and local would not work. Some times you could call the states and not local.

    The one and only thing you could count on was there was no logic, no reason, or thought behind what would work when or how.

    If you had a plain to leave it may show up today, tomorrow, or next week or never.
    You would go to the airport to leave and find a plain had arrived and the place totally completely deserted with no outbound passengers for the plane. You would go to the airport to leave and find the place mobbed and no planes.

    The one thing you could not do was assign any logic to anything. Society had completely broken down.

    What you have here is much the same thing. There is no logic as society is breaking up.

     

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  8.  
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    Justin Johnson (JJJJust) (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Well, you take my internet away, I have nothing else to do but go outside and kick rocks.

    Give it back, and I can sit and watch western entertainment... rocks be damned.

    Time to reconnect and become slaves to the 'net and lose interest in anti-social behavior.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Control... and 'the force'

    More likely:

    Chess analogies are good for one thing: commenting on the Internet, not running a country.

     

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    Joel Coehoorn, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Conspiracy theorists will wonder if they planned it this way:

    "Hey we, have a bunch of protests - what can we do about them?"

    "Let's try killing the web. Many protesters are using it to communicate. If it works, the protests fail. If it doesn't work, we have protests and a non-functional economy anyway, so there's no loss. Then we can release a conciliatory statement a few days later to show we're making progress and maybe appease a lot of people."

     

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    crade (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Why the hate?

    From my point of view that's the Egyptians' call to make. People have a right to revolution.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re:Conspiracy theorists will wonder if they planned it this way?

    Thats the way it happened. The Turkish GOV conspired with telcos to shut down the internet, and they did. No theory involved.

     

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    wnyght (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Why the hate?

    you are right, people to have the right to revolt... maybe the people in the U.S. should consider it.

     

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    DCX2, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Why the hate?

    Read up a bit on the horrible things that Mubarak has done to his people. For instance, there was a 12 or 13 year old boy who stole a few bags of tea...he ended up dying in the hospital due to the severe beating he took from Egyptian police.

    Don't be surprised if a new Egyptian government doesn't care too much for our interests. For the longest time, we didn't care about their interests at all.

     

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    HuwOS, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    Actually it seems far more likely
    that the internet was turned off in an attempt to disrupt organisation of anti Mubarak protests.

    While it may be that it was turned back on, in an attempt to aid the organisation of pro Mubarak protesters

     

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    TSO, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Why the hate?

    > I don't understand the hate toward Mubarak. While he is a dictator, he supports peace in the region and is generally a moderate in an Islamic country. Isn't it a good thing that the US has supported him?

    You are certainly not the first one to make that sentiment...

    "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch..." -- President Roosevelt, 1939.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastasio_Somoza_Garc%C3%ADa#.22Our_son_of_a_bitch.22)

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re:

    "Conspiracy theorists will wonder if they planned it this way:"

    I am not a conspiracy theorist. But I do find it interesting, that as soon as the internet came back on, that pro mubarak types took to the streets and are now clashing with anti-mubarak protesters. The offers of money to anti-mubarak types to change sides rings strange. The whole well orchestrated pro mubarak PR campaign starting 2 hours before hand.

    All in all, while I believe in coincidence, I do not trust it.

    I will chalk this one up to the leader of a nation using images of two sides clashing to instill fear in an attempt to regain control of the nation he rules. Lets hope he pulls it together and holds on until election time. If he doesn't, like Iran during the revolution you will have 2 years before the next election, and hardliners will more than likely prevail.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Too late now! They took our internet porn... They're going down!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 4:49pm

    Re:

    First, from stable government to stable government took over 2 years...Second, there were times when the phones work but there was no power or water...There is no logic as society is breaking up.

    Silly question: Was that the state of affairs before the revolution? Was it after the transition to the stable new government? Or was this during the unstable portion of the transition?

     

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  20.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 7:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    News update ... Egyptian military rallying to quell the violence.

    With 5% of the people on the street being pro-mubarak and armed and 95% being basically peaceful and anti-mubarak and the military moving in ... oops end of ... I guess he learned a lot from watching Iran this past year.

     

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