New technology or back to basics?
It’s all over the news, the ongoing violence in Egypt. In our societies back home we are constantly looking for new technologies and new ways of communicating but in Egypt they are taking a step back - back into early technologies to try and remove the blocks placed on them by government officials.
It comes as a shock then that after an order from the government that Egypt had to be cut off from the internet this was an idea to stop protesters getting word around so easily. However, older technologies have now been dug up from the past and now protesters are even using these to circulate information about how to avoid communication controls inside Egypt.
WiFi or dial-up?
It is unusual now to hear of someone with a dial-up connection that makes that funny screeching noise and takes a while to actually connect you. But dial-up modems have proved to be one of the most popular choices for Egyptians desperately trying to get back online.
Once again protesters and net activists have managed to circulate long lists of international numbers that can be used to connect to dial-up modems.
Even Twitter and Facebook have been used to send out messages tagged with a hash symbol relates them to the protests, for example #egypt 6474849303#. ISPs in major countries like France, the US, Sweden, Spain and many other nations have set up pools of modems that accept international calls. Thus, the circulation of information both to and from protesters is still occurring.
Morse Coding – sorry, what did you say?
We Re-Build, campaigners who fight daily for unmonitored internet access around Europe are going to relay any messages either by voice or morse code as they have managed to listen in on some ham radio frequencies. More technology is being brought in, the usual Fax machine is being heavily used to contact people inside Egypt and pass on information about how they can restore their access to the net.
The fax machines are now being used by more protesters and internet activists to get information into schools and direct to students. Faxes containing information which directly relates to the Mubarak regime are being circulated however it is not certain about what impact these are actually having.
Do not cut us off!
The message that has been heavily stated is that whilst Egypt has now been cut off from net connections, people and businesses who are signed up to Noor, an Egyptian ISP that stayed online due to its ability to connect the countries Stock Exchange and many Western companies to the outside world have actually removed passwords from their Wi-Fi routers so that others can connect through this.
Mobile phones are next to be cut
With Egypt now being cut off from the internet through official interference it has now been announced that the mobile networks are going to be the next avenue to cut off.
Mobile company Vodaphone Egypt confirmed that they had been ordered to shut down services in some areas on Friday. All other operators had also been ordered to shut down their mobile networks to such areas.
Once again though where there is a will there is a way! Alternative message centre numbers have now been circulated by protesters over the weekend following the cut off on Friday. This has proven to work as use of these message centre numbers have allowed locals to text, post on Facebook and even Tweet.
There have been rumours that it is easy to avoid the block on Twitter, using third party updating programme you can receive and send messages rather than going through the official Twitter website.
On a final note
The internet, social sites and mobile phones play a huge part in circulating information at the click of a button. The removal of such vital connection links from those living in Egypt currently has angered many; protesters are constantly managing to find ways to get past the blocks by government and then advising others on how to beat the block too!
It would seem that this is now one big waiting game, protesters ultimately want President Hosni Mubarak to resign but this is something that they are not going to get easily and has already come at a price with over 150 people to have lost their lives already.