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Ways Round Egyptian Internet Crackdown Found

Monday, January 31st 2011 - 01:24 UTC
Full article 13 comments

“Internet not working, police cars burning,” sent out one Egyptian. “Today marks a great day for Egypt,” sent out another.

These messages weren't coming from mobile phones or computers, but from an amateur radio sending out Morse Code somewhere amidst the chaos in Egypt.

The Egyptian government's efforts to restrict communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from an international group of free speech activists on the Internet called Telecomix.

Organizing using chat rooms, wikis, and collaborative writing tools, this largely anonymous group has worked to inform Egyptians about their communications options while receiving incoming messages from them. Telecomix has previously worked on free speech efforts in Tunisia, Iran, China and other countries who have tried to censor or block parts of the Internet.

Egypt has been identified as a “top priority” for Telecomix on one of its network sites, We Re-Build. It has a wiki set-up as a one-stop shop with the latest chat rooms and resources for the ongoing efforts.

There are roughly 20 extremely active members, 50 active and some 300 total including lurkers, according to chat administrator Christopher Kullenberg from Gothenburg, Sweden.

“Think of Telecomix as an ever growing bunch of friends that do things together,” Kullenberg says.

For the majority of users, anonymity is stressed and real identities are rendered obsolete.

Said one chat user, in awe from Australia: “I'm new here, just trying to help.”

The group says it's also worked on receiving and decoding amateur radio messages, sent on frequencies recommended by the group of activists. While these groups have only been able to receive a small amount of messages of a short length with an unknown source, the Egyptian people's use of amateur radio to transmit messages represents an interesting utilization of old-fashioned technology to circumvent government restrictions.

Most activists behind these messages say they wish to remain anonymous. But besides Telecomix, other Internet groups have assisted, including “Anonymous,” which has helped by sending out large amounts of faxes into Egypt. “Anonymous” was also involved in denial of service operations against organizations who took actions against Wikileaks. They've also participated in many other operations, with targets ranging from Scientology to Gene Simmons.

Have these efforts proven effective in helping the Egyptian people? “We cannot really tell,” said Kullenberg. “Opening up communication channels is enough for us. What that leads up to, is up to the people communicating.”

Said another user, wd40_: “Time will tell.”

Categories: Politics, International.
Tags: Egypt.

Top Comments

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  • ed

    1517 ... Egypt entered into control Ottoman Empire

    1798 ... Napoleon invaded

    1801 ... evacuation of French...again to Ottoman

    1805 ... Kavala Mehmed Pasha becomes Governor Egypt

    1869 ... channel opened

    1882 ... invasion of British

    1914 ... Brits declared Egypt Sultanate

    1922 ... Brits puppet regime declared independence Egypt

    1936 ... Fuad dead,son Farook becomes Egypt Sultane

    1952 ... Colonel Nasser cue

    1953 ... declaration Republic...Brits withdraws from channel

    1954 ... Nasser President...Brits withdraws completely

    1956 ... short time ( Brits+French+Israel) invasion

    1967 ... 6 days Wars

    1979 ... Peace Treaty Israel--Egypt

    1981 ... Assad assasination

    2011 ... ?????

    Jan 31st, 2011 - 10:44 am 0
  • Duglas

    The best way to help them is an air drop of a few thousand M60's so they can get rid of those Nazi's in black.

    Jan 31st, 2011 - 01:27 pm 0
  • ed read & watch media much.

    McDonnell Douglas planes are not in circulation.

    Jan 31st, 2011 - 02:29 pm 0
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