Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Internet Kill Switch

I have been thinking about the situation in Egypt, and how this is a test case that a lot of other countries are watching closely. The US, of all places, is trying to put the legal dominoes in place to allow for this - and you have to ask yourself why they would want to do that.

I think that the internet can be considered a gathering of free minds in chat rooms and places like facebook and twitter. As such, it's a threat to repressive governments the world over. It's fairly old fashioned repression to stop people physically meeting in groups of more than 3, or setting curfews. However, meeting of minds rather than bodies is just as dangerous. The danger is, of course, in open communication and the strengthening of opposition to the interests of the oppressor. As far as the oppressor sees it - If you can't outright kill them, you need to be able to silence them.

I am surprised that there is not more concern, or even outrage, on the internet about the apparent ease that Egypt has been disconnected from the world. Reprogram a couple of thousand routers and it's been effectively cut off. So much for the military concept of traffic routing past obstacles, eh!

No offence to any American reader here, but I suspect that a lot of them might not even notice if their country was isolated from the rest of the world. I could be wrong about that.

Of course, as pretty much an internet junkie, I would be devastated by an internet kill switch. I don't watch television these days, certainly not for news. I get it all from the internet. It's an interactive experience, and I don't see any reason to go back. I hate ads, a lot, so TV grates on me in minutes. I have ad blockers even on my web browsers so that I don't have to see them here either. Anyway, this isn't a rant about ads.

If the internet is shut down in your country - what would you make of it? Would you panic? Would you be alarmed? Would you be angry? Do you consider access to the internet a modern human right? I wonder....

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