January 28, 2011

"What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet?"

"What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up. We will continue to dig into the event, and will update this story as we learn more. As Friday dawns in Cairo under this unprecedented communications blackout, keep the Egyptian people in your thoughts."

Links to commentary on this article can be found at Memeorandum.

74 comments:

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

My guess is the number of Egyptians who feel cut off, absolutely unable to conduct their lives sans Internet, is closer to 50,000 student/Elites.....not 80 million.

Though more will be inconvenienced by not getting live soccer scores and downloading Egyptian Islamic soap operas. And grumble a bit, then load another sack of onions into the market stall or bitch to the undersecretary of the assistant deputy minister of the Alexandrian traffic toll system in the next bureaucrat cubicle.

Original Mike said...

They can't read Althouse, that's what happens.

Scott M said...

What are they going to do about all their Facebook farms? Don't those require regular attention? How many suicides purely driven by lack of access to porn?

Big Mike said...

@Sixty Grit, he does, indeed.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Not to Worry. Obama and Hillary are on top of this. Oh, that's right. Barack is busy running for reelection and Hilary is...

Hmmm, where the hell is Hillary?

traditionalguy said...

The Global Food Price Crisis was designed to start this revolution and revolutions everywhere. Thanks a lot too all of you Global warming Hoax believers. A food shortage induced Revolt becomes a civil war that makes food supply worse. Then the plagues start among the weakened humans...you know, all of those surplus CO2 producers that your plans call for killing off.

Ralph L said...

Now on Mtv: Hosni, Unplugged.

edutcher said...

Cedar, as always seeing conspiracies everywhere, probably is wrong on the number. Not 80 mil, perhaps, but a lot more than 50,000. In the remotest reaches of Africa, people are connected - by cell and iPhones running through the Internet, so this will have a lot of repercussions.

And keep something else in mind -

"As Friday dawns in Cairo...", the people will go to prayer and the imams will have plenty to say.

PS As Big Mike notes, The Zero is working on the exact same thing here.

Scott M said...

Hmmm, where the hell is Hillary?

The administration is probably going to handle this about as well as they did the Honduras situation and the Iranian demonstrations.

That is to say, on the wrong side or ineptly. I would say that history is going to judge us harshly, but that's already happening.

garage mahal said...

Doesn't Barrack Hosni Obama want to have the power to turn off the internet here?

Yea I remember getting an email that said something like that. That and something about giving Manhattan back to the Indians?

prairie wind said...

How does one shut down the Internet in the United States? If Obama were to gain that power through bureaucratic regulation, how would he do it? Is there a centralized something that he could shut down? The internet is a network of a bajillion web servers...how to affect all of them? Help me out here.

Scott M said...

How does one shut down the Internet in the United States? If Obama were to gain that power through bureaucratic regulation, how would he do it? Is there a centralized something that he could shut down? The internet is a network of a bajillion web servers...how to affect all of them? Help me out here.

Obama does not have that kind of power. Robama does.

Jody said...

garage, let HuffPo remind you...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/17/internet-kill-switch-woul_n_615923.html

JAL said...

Do the banks do business on Friday in Egypt?

Just askin'. Really don't know.

Original Mike said...

"How does one shut down the Internet in the United States?"

Can't be done, right now. That's why they need to put the mechanism in place ahead of time.

prairie wind said...

Thanks, Jody!


A new Senate bill, sponsored by Senator Joseph Lieberman, proposes to give the president the authority "to seize control of or even shut down portions of the Internet," according to CNET.

The authority granted to the government in the bill, known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), has been likened to an Internet "kill switch."

The bill would require that private companies--such as "broadband providers, search engines, or software firms," CNET explains--"immediately comply with any emergency measure or action" put in place by the Department of Homeland Security, or else face fines.

It would also see the creation of a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security, the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC). Any private company reliant on "the Internet, the telephone system, or any other component of the U.S. 'information infrastructure'" would be "subject to command" by the NCCC, and some would be required to engage in "information sharing" with the agency, says CBS4.


Lieberman? WTF?

John Burgess said...

Egypt has a Friday-Saturday weekend, so businesses aren't going to be hit maximally by an Internet shut-down.

What is interesting is that the mostly young population that most uses the Internet and social media tend to be among the more progressive and liberal folks.

The people who have worked for the past ± 50 years on political reform did not and do not rely on high technology to communicate. Unfortunately, those reformists are looking for change in a direction not-terribly-useful, if not out-and-out detrimental to our own interests: the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, et al.

So, the Egyptian government is shooting itself in the foot, if not the head, in shutting down the Internet.

Richard Dolan said...

This is what revolutions in the 21st century look like. In the 20th century, the same target would have been the central telephone/telegraph exchange; then the central TV and radio stations. Now it's internet. It's unprecedented only in the sense that the way people communicate today is via the internet. But disrupting the means of communication in the course of a revolution, either to thwart or advance it, is very far from 'unprecedented'.

What will happen is what always happens in revolutions - complete chaos until someone takes charge.

shoutingthomas said...

garage seems to be particular interested in denying that censorship exists, even as he stands for it.

You see, trumping up attacks on his political opponents is really advancing censorship. He's not actually accusing Palin of being an accessory to mass murder. Well, he's sort of intimating that other people do.

And, of course, incitement to mass murder might not be quite the same as freedom of speech.

And, that guy in Uganda that garage never heard of until yesterday... well, garage isn't exactly saying that evangelists are accessories to the guy's murder. Well, he's sort of intimating that that could be the case.

And, of course, incitement to political murder might not be quite the same as freedom of speech.

Obama didn't really suggest regulation of speech on the internet. Well, upon closer inspection he did something a little like that.

But, you conservative cry babies, garage explains, nobody's been thrown in jail or killed over speech here in the U.S. So what are you talking about?

Remember when even a "chilling effect" on free speech was a liberal obsession? That's certainly gone out the window, hasn't it?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Doesn't Barrack Hosni Obama want to have the power to turn off the internet here?

Doesn't he already have it?

Want to motivate young people to join the Tea Party and urge them to real revolution? Cut off the internet, cut off their cell phones, gps devices, I-phones, I-Pads, texting capabilities.....World of Warcraft!! MMORPGs etc.

Feel the rage!

Original Mike said...

"What will happen is what always happens in revolutions - complete chaos until someone takes charge."

Where is Al Haig when you need him?

Scott M said...

Shutting down an entire nation's ISP access like this is unprecedented as far as I know. As far as what would have happened in the past, none of the technologies you mentioned, with the possible exclusion of telephones, have the ability to go viral like you can now with the internet and cell phone networks. Even with phones as late as the 90's, you were still tied to one spot. Nothing like the phones we have now, with their video/picture/sharing capacities, existed before.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Cell phones are easy to shut down.

This has already been accomplished in Egypt. People in Switzerland at the Davos conference from Egypt have lost cell phone connection.

Control of information is KEY in a totalitarian society. This is why Obama wants to control the internet and re-institute censorship via the "fairness" doctrine.

Mushrooms....we are soon to become mushrooms. (kept in the dark and fed shit - for those who haven't heard that old saying.

1jpb said...

"How many suicides purely driven by lack of access to porn?"

Well, at least the internet still works in Utah, where online porn use is higher than it is in any other state.

Chef Mojo said...

Serious question:

Why is everybody acting like a revolution against Mubarak is a good thing?

As much of a dictator Mubarak is, he's vastly preferable to the only viable alternative: The Muslim Brotherhood.

This is Iran again, circa 1978-79. And amazingly, Joe Biden seems to be the only person in the administration who gets this, albeit in a roundabout, idiotic fashion. Obama really is turning out to be Carter Redux.

The Drill SGT said...

prairie wind said...
How does one shut down the Internet in the United States? If Obama were to gain that power through bureaucratic regulation, how would he do it? Is there a centralized something that he could shut down? The internet is a network of a bajillion web servers...how to affect all of them? Help me out here.


those zillion servers run across a much smaller number of cables, run by a handful of large bandwidth providers (talking the fiber guys here) and the zillion servers are located on the internet by another handful of Master DNS locations.

The Internet is reliable and redundant, but it can be blocked.

ricpic said...

Obama says "violence not the answer" in Egypt. He's reserving that for bitter clingers here.

rhhardin said...

As they used to say at work then the computer went down, it's a good time to put your work on a solid theoretical foundation.

t-man said...

Wait a minute. Did I miss the part where Sarah Palin created a map targeting Mubarak?

Luke Lea said...

It will be interesting to see how effectively the central government will be able to maintain its own command and control under these circumstances?

There have been reports of police and army desertions to the other side, which was a crucial development in the French Revolution.

Even more interesting is what happens in Jordan. If the monarchy falls -- or better yet, is transformed into a parliamentary democracy with a Palestinian majority (they are 70% of the population even without the West Bank) -- then that would open up new possibilities for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With Western assistance the right-of-return could become a realizable dream. How suddenly things can change.

BJM said...

@Sixty Grit

Yeah, "just in case". I can't think of any reason that a lack of communication would be wise or warranted, other than to quash a rebellion. The one thing you want up in an emergency is communications.

@Praire wind

Shutting down top level DNS servers would take most of us off line, but he would also have to shut down the backbone. Post 9/11 that would be more difficult as the backbone is a physical entity with off-shore redundancies built in to prevent shut down in a natural emergency or terrorist attack. He would also need to shut down the telecom backbone to curtail private DNS & nets (banks, stock exchange, major corps, fed, state & local govt services), SMS and cell phones.

I really can't see that happening here as it would tank the economy and fuel a wider rebellion. Our first line of defense is always our military, they cannot by law, and morally would not fire on their own people and without military level man & firepower in the streets (police would quickly become overwhelmed) a govt can't suppress a nationwide rebellion.

Even dedicated leftie/socialists remember Kent State and how that changed the dynamics.

However, we must remain vigilant because eventually the federal govt will try to censor the net by regulation, if not this administration, one in the future.

wv= ping ...I kid you not.

Chef Mojo said...

Even more interesting is what happens in Jordan. If the monarchy falls -- or better yet, is transformed into a parliamentary democracy with a Palestinian majority (...)

Not gonna happen. If the Hussein monarchy falls, Hamas will fill the vacuum, and that will be anything but a parliamentary democracy.

Israel will be bracketed by Hizbollah to the north, Hamas to the east, Muslim Brotherhood to the south and naught but the deep blue see to the west.

That's not something I want to contemplate for all the parties involved...

traditionalguy said...

The question of succession has arisen due to Mubarak's age and health. Who can become the new Dictator that balances a Peace with Israel (with its great benefits of peace supplemented by massive US military and financial aid) with Murderous Islamic Radicals A crisis in Egypt will call for a UN and Obama lead peace keeping force that just happens to also Internationalize Jerusalem...to re-distribute it.

AllenS said...

garage mahal said...
Yea I remember getting an email that said something like that. That and something about giving Manhattan back to the Indians?

Sometimes, you're like really totally funny. LOL LOL

edutcher said...

The Zero and company have been working on controlling the Internet since Day 1. Now they can see how it might be done.

A good many people are concerned the current push for Net Neutrality is aimed at this.

1jpb said...

"How many suicides purely driven by lack of access to porn?"

Well, at least the internet still works in Utah, where online porn use is higher than it is in any other state.


PB&J, as usual, wants to be snarky, but I'd bet that porn use comes from all the non-Saints in the Beehive State.

PS Anybody who saw "Seven Days in May" and remembers the Special Forces unit called EComCon understands the allure of shutting down all communication. After all, how many choke points, physically, (or satellites, for that matter) would have to be seized to shut down the Net in this country?

1jpb said...

I can't see why these Egyptians have their panties in a bunch. Don't they understand that their oppression seems silly when compared to that of Palin and cons in America?

I mean, for Mohammed's sake (literally, according to some cons) BHO passed Bob Dole's health care reform. Egyptian cry babies got nothing on that.

P.S. If they want an Islamist state they can move to the US, where their Meccurian Candidate is working away.

virgil xenophon said...

traditionalguy is closer to the mark than most want to believe..rising food prices/shortages are one VERY beneficial side-effect from the ethanol craze from their pov..

The Drill SGT said...

This is going to end ugly. Think Iran and the Shah in 78 only bigger. The moment Obama disavowed Mubarak, he was a dead man walking.

The only questions are how many additional states go down?

and what does Israel do after they go under?

joyce said...

I'm worried about our American soldiers in Cairo. It is an accompanied tour---they have families and pets. Pray for them. Facebook is their way to communicate with us.

Until my friend and her husband wer stationed in Cairo, I had no clue we had soldiers there. How many of you knew??

1jpb said...

"How many of you knew??"

Pavlova8 did.

Original Mike said...

"I had no clue we had soldiers there. How many of you knew??"

I didn't know. I'm not amazed.

bgates said...

the right-of-return could become a realizable dream

Sweet. Does that mean I can get back the land the f'n Normans took from my family 945 years ago?

I had no clue we had soldiers there.

Me either. Not just embassy guards?

Scott M said...

Embassy security details, to my knowledge, are Marines. My cousin was in the 82nd Airborn and was stationed in Egypt for almost a year. So...we have Army there as well. I did not know there were accompanied tours there.

Triangle Man said...

This seems more ominous to me than if Christiane Amanpour showed up.

1jpb said...

"This seems more ominous to me than if Christiane Amanpour showed up."

I like asking folks the following question:

"You know Amanpour's family is from Iran, so can you name the religion they believe in?"

After they (almost always) guess Muslim, I ask:

"How many Muslims name their kids Christiane?"

I'm an annoying/snarky person offline too!

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



There is a Military Assistance Command-sort of structure in place, in Egypt. Egypt is one of the larger recipients of US Military Aid. There many US citizens there, military and civilian, trying to teach Egyptians how to utilize their US equipment.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Just remember F-16’s don’t fly or maintain themselves, neither do M-60 or M-1 MBT’s.

Scott M said...

Just remember F-16’s don’t fly or maintain themselves

Fly themselves, yes. Maintain, no. I remember working with some Warthog pilots (still my favorite combat aircraft) who were bitching about Falcon drivers having it so easy when ferrying the aircraft from the states to the Mideast. The Falcons can be set on a fairly sophisticated autopilot and the pilot can read a book if they want.

The A-10 guys, on the other hand, did things like strap a piece of bungie cord from one side of the cockpit, around the stick a few times, then to the other side in order to cut down on fatigue for multi-hour flights.

I've sat in lawn chairs that were more comfortable than an A-10 washtub.

Chef Mojo said...

We have a relatively large military presence in Egypt, albeit low key. In addition to the Embassy - USMC plus military attaches and their families representing each service, we have commitments with MFO Sinai to the tune of around 700 personnel. There are also a large number of personnel involved in numerous MAG activities (military assistance groups), joint forces training and support and that sort of thing. There are also a huge number of civilian contract support and security personnel (mercenaries in Kos-speak...) in Egypt. All in all, there are a hell of a lot of Americans in Egypt, both military and civilian who are or could soon be at risk.

holdfast said...

Reminds me of the Falcon pilot who accidentally ejected because he overwhelmed his piddlepack, and the piss shorted the firing circuits in his ejection seat.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Once said that A-10 pilots carry a calendar, rather than a watch.

Scott M said...

Once said that A-10 pilots carry a calendar, rather than a watch.

Yes, but when they do get there, they don't mess around with sissie things like 20 millimeter shells.

Fred4Pres said...

Mumbarak has to start giving power to opposition. Stop fearing the Muslim Brotherhood. Yeah, they have a lot of influence in Egypt, but are hardly the only group with it.

reader_iam said...

Egyptians themselves (individually, or as businesses) are not the only ones who use ISP and other providers in Egypt, now unavailable. Other entities outside of Egypt use services there. It's not just about handfuls of elites and/or progressive/activist types and/or porn lovers.

---

I see that egyptse.com is now also down. (Also, whoever noted that the Egyptian biz week runs from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday being the equivalent of Sabbath, is correct.)

---

My husband noted this morning that the International Technical Company for which he works has used sources in Egypt to provide off-hour support. In his particular group, the group they used was fired a while back (for unrelated reasons). Had that not happened, this would have directly affected part of their operations, if not immediately, then soon enough. Global interconnection means just that: interconnection, for good and ill.

So it's potentially not JUST about Egypt. There's plenty of reason for alarm, and this is a big deal, potentially a very big deal.

edutcher said...

Mojo is right about Sinai. A battalion of the 101st is (may now be from another unit) stationed there as part of the agreement ending the You Kippur War.

And, of course, we have Halo Joe going on TV to stick his foot in his mouth once again.

PS Second what joyce said. You're a good lady.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



The “Puking Chicken” folks, could in theory retreat over the border into Israel, I guess. I would think the Sixth Fleet might be assembling a Task Force to facilitate an evacuation of US Civilians and Non-Essential Personnel. It does have to be troubling to be in Egypt, now…I’d be looking to consolidate my personnel, at a minimum, and mayhap head to the Embassy or nearest Consulate.

Roger J. said...

I'm with Chief Mojo and Drill--just because there is an icipient revolution going on, it doesnt mean it will end well for us--The muslim brotherhood (read Taliban West) is the only organized opposition I am aware of, and they arent the good guys--

The silence from USG (all but gunner Joe) is deafening--I honestly think our state department douchbags have yet again been caught flat footed and they havent the remotest idea what to do or what to say--honduras again but far more serious.

Scott M said...

honduras again but far more serious.

Far, far more serious. This is just the first table in a room full of houses made of cards.

Roger J. said...

I can only imagine the consternation in the white house--It might be a good idea for POTUS to weigh in (Biden has already shot his mouth off)--but OMG what am I going to say? what I gonna do? what I gonna do? Help me Hillary youre my only hope (but for allah's sake dont do the orange pants suit thing)

Luke Lea said...

Chef Mojo says: "If the Hussein monarchy falls, Hamas will fill the vacuum, and that will be anything but a parliamentary democracy."

True. But democracy or no democracy if Palestinians were in charge there would be room (as in lebensraum) to deal. It might take awhile. Not sure how easily the Hashemites could be displaced however. Trade Amman for Mecca maybe? :)

Roger J. said...

Luke--are we going back to the 1920s when the Hashemites gave up mecca medina for Jordan? there is a certain delicious irony to that

PatCA said...

Guess The One's Cairo speech didn't do much good.

Looks like the Muslim Brotherhood is completing its imperialist mission now that we have another weak president like Carter.

Luke Lea said...

Fluidity is all. Here's an old Maria Muldaur tune that says it all:

http://www.myspace.com/mariamuldaurtoday/music/songs/as-an-eagle-stirrith-in-her-nest-27928004

William said...

I suppose that it's theoretically possible that when these regimes fall something better will take their place. But my guess is that the new regime will take the position that all past troubles were due to insufficient hostility towards western values and not enough adulteresses being stoned to death.....The disturbing thing is that only regimes that have some respect for human values are at risk of failure. Libya will gun down demonstrators with far more abandon than Tunisia. As we saw in Iran, the mullahs were much nastier than the Shah in suppressing demonstrations. There seems to be a kind a reverse Darwinism. Only the most violent, backward, bigoted regime can survive. Somalia seems to have the most stable regime in the Islamic world.

Roger J. said...

world leaders and the various underground movements have taken their measure of Mr Obama and found him lacking--the US will have absolutely no impact on events outside the US--and precisely because our POTUS is a spineless pontificating twit--and everyone outside the US knows it.

I suggest this will not produce good outcomes for our diplomacy.

jr565 said...

F*ck, my mom is actually travelling to Egypt next week. I really don't want her travelling there at this point.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I imagine that the Israeli’s sphincters are puckering right about now.

If a Taliban West type of government takes over in Egypt, Israel will be in a very very precarious position.

You don't want someone with nothing to lose and who has excellent nuclear capabilities feeling like their back is against the wall.

We'd better pray that we make some better decisions in this instance than Carter did in Iran. We are still living with the bad bad consequences of his ineptitude and stupidity.

I don't have very high hopes that Obama's administration will be any smarter. They can't even figure out what kind of gifts to give the Queen of England or how to not be insulted to their faces IN the White House.

Be afraid.

HT said...

Let Tunisia lead the way!

They have a technocrat in charge for the time being, who is more or less trusted or tolerated by all parties.

Elections are coming up.

It's a much smaller, less varied country, more easy to govern than Egypt. But they also have a lot of similarities in their tendency toward secularism. There's a lot about the Constitution that I imagine they'll keep (no polygamy). I just can't believe that all those people in the streets of Tunis were Islamic Brothers. I don't believe it.

Let Tunisia lead the way. (Although killing the tiger ... really?)

Yeah, it'll get worse (egypt) before it gets better.

madAsHell said...

In the beginning, Islam gave them multiple wives.

When the wives were no longer willing, Islam gave them the internet.

...and then they cut the internet.

Muburak is toast.

I have read news reports of giving Obama an internet kill switch.

Yeah....this is going to end POORLY.

Freeman Hunt said...

How many people will read about this and decide to get ham radio licenses?

Freeman Hunt said...

Because I know there's at least one.

Skay said...

Obama is bringing more of the "Brotherhood" to the United States.

From Israel National News--


"The Barack Obama administration has decided to lift a ban preventing Muslim Scholar Professor Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States. Ramadan, an Egyptian currently living in Switzerland, is a leading member of Europe’s Muslim Brotherhood branch and the grandson of the movement’s founder Hassan al-Banna. The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization for Hamas and some of the groups that recently merged into al-Qaeda, including Ayman al Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Ramadan was invited to teach at the University of Notre Dame in 2004 but the George W. Bush administration revoked his visa, citing a statute that applies to those who have “endorsed or espoused” terrorism. The administration later dropped the terror endorsement claim and linked the ban to $1,336 in donations Ramadan made between 1998 and 2002 to a Swiss charity that was later blacklisted by the US.

Although the White House asked the court last March to uphold the Bush-era entry ban on Ramadan, the administration has now decided to lift the ban and possibly allow both Ramadan and South African Muslim activist Professor Adam Habib onto American soil. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that the government no longer views Ramadan or Habib as representing threats to the United States. “The next time Professor Ramadan or Professor Habib apply for a visa, they will not be found inadmissible on the basis of the facts that led to denial when they last applied.”
(IsraelNationalNews.com)

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