netwit 2.01

Reaching for the kill switch [Economist, 10 Feb 2011] [http://econ.st/ibIVxg]



Reaching for the kill switch


The cost and practicalities of switching off the internet in Egypt and elsewhere


some points:


* The bulk of Egyptian surfers used only 5 ISPs


* In the US the top 5 ISPs account for only half the market/ top 10 ISPs 70%


* “In Egypt the authorities forced joint ventures run by Britain’s Vodafone and France Télécom to suspend call and data transmission, citing the laws which govern their licences. Even after the operators were allowed to restore their services, the authorities used them to send propaganda messages. One read: “The Armed Forces asks Egypt’s honest and loyal men to confront the traitors and criminals and protect our people and honour and our precious Egypt.”


* Counter-measures: e.g. Tweet provided ” speak-to-Tweet” service


* “In 2007 the authorities in Myanmar cut internet connections to counter anti-government demonstrations. Two years earlier a similar move severed services in Nepal. During the unrest in Tunisia in January, the authorities censored some news and social networking sites; Iran and Thailand have done likewise. Following ethnic riots in its Xinjiang province in 2009, China blocked e-mail, text messages and all but a handful of websites in the region as part of disruption that lasted for ten months; it has lately blocked searches for “Egypt” on several popular microblogging sites. But only North Korea denies its entire civilian population any access to the net.”


* “Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental think-tank in Paris, estimates that the network shutdowns alone may have cost Egypt as much as $90m.”
* A much cited slogan of late on the web is “If your government shuts down your internet, it’s time to shut down your government.”


* Estonia made internet access a human right in 2000. France has followed suit. A law passed in Finland last year guarantees every citizen a broadband connection.



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February 12, 2011 Posted by | cyber attacks, cyber security, cyberspace, Finland, ISP, kill switch, Myanmar, Nepal, OECD | 1 Comment