Skip to main content

Egyptian Government Blocks Foreign Internet Contact, Social Media

According to Internet monitoring service Renesys, the Egyptian government has effectively shut down Internet contact with the outside world as internal violence grows.

The ‘net has become an increasing recourse in sharing information about protests worldwide, as well as helping organize them.

According to a blog posting from Thursday night, Renesys says that there was a simultaneous withdrawl of all roués to Egyptian networks, "leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers. Virtually all of Egypt's Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide."

"Mubarak," referring to Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak, was one of the trending topics on Twitter Friday after Egypt reportedly had blocked both Twitter and Facebook to prevent the organization of protests or sharing of videos of the unrest.

The lead tweet on the Mubarak search at press time was "Mr. Mubarak, tear down this firewall!," evoking President Reagan's call for an end to the Berlin Wall.

In a tweet midday Friday, Alec Ross, senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted: "We urge Egypt govt to allow peaceful protests + reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications. In a YouTube interview Thursday, the president also said people should be free to communicate on the ‘net.

The administration has made Internet freedom a foreign policy goal, with Clinton declaring in a speech in January 2010 that governments should not prevent people from connecting to web sites and each other. She likened the freedom to connect to the Internet to freedom of assembly during a speech that mirrored the Four Freedoms speech of Franklin Roosevelt.