Egypt Turns the Internet Back On

News from Finally Fast:

The Egyptian government recently ended its reign of free speech oppression, reconnecting internet for its citizens across the country.

Internet service providers in the country recently reconfigured their routers to normal settings, establishing internet access in the country for the first time in nearly a week. Technologically, the move essentially involved backtracking on previous measures taken in response to the Egyptian government’s demand to cut off internet access to eliminate communications between potential protesters, who have been acting out against injustices and economic instability in the country.

“It was pretty much similar, except reversed, to what happened last week,” said Andree Toonk, the founder and lead developer of BGPmon, an open-source tool for monitoring border gateway protocol, according to Computerworld.

In fact, Toonk believes the immediate disconnect-and-reconnect is a sign that border gateway protocol was used to both cut off and reconnect internet access in Egypt. Border gateway protocol works by allowing routers to share information about information traffic, identifying areas where data switches between different networks, according to Computerworld. Using this technology, internet service providers may have complied with Egyptian government demands immediately, rather than take the time to disconnect physical technology, as well as leave the opportunity to reconnect Egyptians quickly.

“That, and the fact that it all happened at the same time shows the disconnect was probably not physical,” said Toonk. Nor was the restoration today. “Everything was restored in about half an hour,” he said.

The administration of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began its internet oppression by banning select social networking services, namely Facebook and Twitter, in a move that was expected to cut off communications and reduce protests throughout the country of enraged citizens. Eventually, the ban was extended to other communication-specific tools on the site, including the BlackBerry Internet Service.

After protests continued to grow, the Mubarak administration removed internet access throughout the country, turning back time and disconnecting citizens from a main communication tool necessary to spread news of injustices and opposition efforts to other countries.

Now, with internet reconnected, Egyptian citizens are able to leverage the same services that were available before Mubarak pulled the plug.

“We confirm that Facebook and Twitter are up and available inside Egypt, at least from the places we can monitor. No traffic blocks are in place, DNS answers are clean, IP addresses match, no funny business. For now,” according to a post by Jim Cowie, CTO and co-founder of internet monitoring firm Renesys.

Cowie first reported internet outages in Egypt last week, citing the unique nature of Egyptian censorship relating to similar attempts in Iran, in which internet speeds were drastically reduced to discourage internet use among those who opposed government rulings and regulations.

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