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. identicon
    Another Anonymous Poster, 31 Jan 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Government Controlled Internet

    Do you honestly believe that various government agencies don't already effectively control the Internet in the US? The Patriot Act and other laws pretty much put every ISP/Telcom under their jurisdiction/control. Maybe facilitating snooping and providing historical data is as far as they are going today, but I imagine that most ISPs would pull the plug if faced with a government order in the guise of national security.

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