A Look At How Egypt Shut Down The Internet

from the a-few-phone-calls dept

With Egypt taking the extreme step of shutting down the internet last week, a lot of people started wondering just how does a country go about doing that. According to a report by Ryan Singel at Wired, the answer appears to be with a series of phone calls to ISPs. Wired published this telling image from Arbor Networks, that shows just how dramatic the cut off was:
The report notes that while there isn't anything like a big red "stop the internet" button, and there are a variety of different internet providers, it's still possible to shut them all down with just a few phone calls. And you can kind of see that in the fact that the turn off didn't all happen exactly at once, but there were a series of drops over the course of a few hours, leading up to that big drop off. The report does note that at least one ISP, Noor, appears to still be operating, which appears to represent that tiny bit of blue at the bottom of the chart.

It looks like ISPs as a bottleneck may be yet another piece of internet infrastructure that's a bit too centralized.
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Filed Under: egypt, internet, shutdown


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  1. icon
    Benny6Toes (profile), 31 Jan 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re:

    It wasn't just the reporting of the riots Mubarak's government was trying to stop. I'd say that wasn't even the primary purpose. The internet is was being used to organize and advertise the demonstrations so it got shut down. Preventing the internal reporting on the web was sort of a bonus (obviously the lack of internet connectivity hasn't stopped reporting).

    As for Obama and a good number of Republicans...really? You think they're salivating over this? You didn't think they knew this was possible to begin with after the telcos rolled over on warrantless wiretaps, etc.?

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