(Reuters)In an attempt to stop the frenzied online spread of dissent against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, not only Facebook and Twitter but the entire Internet was shut down overnight, leaving some 20 million users stranded.
The U.s. White House responds via twitter: "Very concerned about violence in Egypt - government must respect the rights of the Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet"
When protestors in Cario's Tahir Square experienced an outage in cell phone data service, nearby residents reportedly opened their home wifi services to allow protesters net access.
Internet activists are reminding Egyptians that both internet and cell phone services can be used to track users, and that security precautions are vital. EFF activist Eva Galperin, in a Global Voices Advocacy guest post, says:
it is absolutely critical that Egyptian protesters take precautions when communicating online. To reiterate, social networking tools have given activists a powerful voice, which can be heard well beyond Egypt, but activists should also remember that the Egyptian government could use these same tools to identify and retaliate against them.Despite that, some writers and observers continue to use digital media to get their message out. Activists have found ways around the shutdown.
People around the world are focusing on radio, TV and print media. They have also been using landlines to call colleagues, friends, an relatives outside of Egypt, who are then sending messages in their name, or using landlines to connect to outside internet services.
Jan25 Voices, @Jan25voices has set up a new feed specifically to breech the internet block. They began sending messages January 28, and quickly garnered more than 700 followers.
We are using phones and other means to speak with Egyptians behind the blocked internet, tweeting their words in real time. contact: email@example.comThey are attempting to name the source in each twitter.
Live Phonecall: Unconfirmed story from someone in Suez that a buldozer was used on a police station. #jan25 #jan28 #EgyptMany others are feeding off of the images from Al Jazeera English (streaming live), although the images have been scrambled in Egypt, the audio still gets through.