January 27, 2011

A READER WHO KNOWS THINGS EMAILS: “Egypt is completely cut off the internet. Amid widespread rioting, and right on the heels of a video of a man shot down in the street, the entire nation of Egypt appears to be cut off the Internet. Entirely. You cannot even ping the US Embassy there, as of 27 minutes ago.”

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “I’m not sure how things are in Egypt, but if you cut off the internet in the United States don’t you think it would cause unrest? People would have nothing better to do than protest in the streets. The internet isn’t working. I think it’s a mistake.” Well, people in Egypt are past the point where the Internet serves as a distraction, but yes — in similar circumstances I would take an Internet shutoff to be a signal to riot, burn the local Federal Building (or whatever the equivalent would be in Egypt) and so on. On the other hand, unless there’s been preparation, it’ll be much less coordinated. I wonder how many walkie-talkies and shortwave sets the protesters have?

MORE: “So, if you were there, what would you do to get communications for everyone? Do you still have a POTS modem?”

STILL MORE: Reader Steve White was right.

MORE STILL: Reader Alex Charyna writes: “You would turn on your HF ham radio and listen. Hopefully there is someone out there able (and with the balls) to talk out to the world. The ham radio guys are big on emergency preparedness. In this case, it’s govt caused. But if you look at what hams did on 9/11 and the Haiti earthquake, you would be surprised. I don’t have a HF rig handy but if I could, i’d certainly give a listen.”

I really need to get a ham license. Meanwhile, C.J. Burch, like the novelist he is, thinks outside the box:

Amateur radio guys would be the answer here and probably there as well. There are going to be areas the government has to protect. The rioters would be wise to make feints at them and hit the shopping malls and the electronics stores. Take every two way radio they can lay their hands on. The multi channel ones would be the best, but even the small time kiddie things would be better than nothing. Also flares can signal from roof top to roof top at night. Fires on the top of big buildings can be seen all over the place. Flashlights could be a help too.

Remind me never to be on the opposite side of an insurrection from you, C.J.

YET MORE: Egypt Leaves The Internet: “In an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.”