Turning off the lights

28 Jan

Apparently Egypt has turned off all internet connectivity within its borders. This has some pretty far-reaching connotations for everyone.

As you can see from this Mashable post, much like in Iran during the Green Revolution (although, to be fair, the information within Iran was so diluted by external messages there are questions surrounding social media’s ultimate effectiveness in that case), the protesters are organising  via digital means. Hence why the Government has apparently shut it down.

But what happens now that internet access has gone down? What happens to the protest organisation?

And could it happen in Western Democracies if there was civil unrest. Right now, UK Union leaders are meeting to discuss the possibility of General strikes in the UK to protest the Tory-led cuts. After seeing how students organised themselves during the protests last year, would the circumstance ever arise that the Government would shut down digital communications? Probably not, simply because the economy relies on the net so much these days, especially the city. But it means the possibility is still there.

I’d have to ask a technician, but would it be possible to shut down certain areas, in-particular wireless or 3g capabilities?

But consider this, Iran was never able to disconnect the net, nor has China completely stopped information seeping through. Like the 4 minute mile, once someone has done it, will everyone learn how?

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