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How Egypt Cut Off the Internet

28 Jan

Update: A reader sends me the following tip, “the AP released a video: http://apne.ws/hgEg4d, of a man being shot in the head. 10 minutes later the internet went down.” (CAUTION: graphic video)

First, the visual. From DailyKOs:

So, it appears that around 5:20 EST on January 27 something happened that caused most of the country to lose internet access. Later in the blog post on KOs, we learn that the number of active internet connections dropped from an average of 80,000 active connections at any given time  to 100 total, overnight.

Renesys, a company that monitors internet traffic worldwide, called the action “unprecedented in Internet history.” Time provides a well-written, comprehensible analysis of how the country managed to shut off access. The Wall Street Journal has another, more technical, account.

In spite of these odds, some information still appears to be leaking out of the country.  One computer science professor somehow managed to update his Facebook page and another journalist has been able to tweet.

Beyond the political implications of this story, which seem potentially historic, the use of a “kill switch” on the Internet inside a country will also make technology history.

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