Activists pass by Egyptian internet blockade

Sweden | 2011-02-01 | 2 comments
Dial-up modem, fax machine, short-wave radio and even Morse code. Telecomix, a Swedish organisation for internet activists, plays a key role in efforts to establish contacts between Egypt and the outside world using old technology.

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The Swedish company Bambuser's service for live video was one of the first to be shut down in Egypt.

Bambuser's service makes it possible to broadcast live video using your mobile phone and immediately upload the videos, for example, on Facebook. The service was of great use during the elections in Egypt in November when there were over 10,000 broadcasts, particular from polling stations.

It was last Tuesday at one o'clock in the afternoon that Bambuser was shut down as one of the first services in Egypt. Shortly before the close down there was between 40 and 50 films from the demonstrations in Egypt.

Also Twitter and Facebook was blocked and at the end of last week when the Egyptian government shut down the entire Internet.

Internet activists are now trying in various ways to get around the blockade of the Internet.

Telecomix, a loose network of Internet activists, use older technologies to provide communications links between Egypt and the surrounding world.

"We spread phone number and password to the modem pools as an opportunity to reach the Internet," Christopher Kullenberg, a doctoral candidate in philosophy of science at Gothenburg University and a founder of Telecomix, tells technology magazine Ny Teknik.

He says that a group within the organization uses shortwave radio to receive, among else, Morse code. Also fax machines are used in order to get around the Egyptian Internet blockade.

Kullenberg says that they are ready with a set of tools as soon as internet connections comes up again in Egypt. They for example include ways to establish encrypted VPN connections, help with encryption technology and proxy servers to evade censorship.

“We also run a project that we call which is a giant mirroring of Internet material, making it possible to access videos from the demonstrations, even if the Egyptian government is trying to block them," Christopher Kullenberg says.

The organization Telecomix started in Sweden two years ago to influence the design of the EU's Telecoms Reform Package.

Through the sister organization We Re-build is information distributed on activities related to Egypt.



We Re-Build Egypt

Readers' comments

2011-02-04 13:54 Lena wrote:
Man sentenced to 9 years in prison for breaking into home of Danish cartoonist who caricatured Prophet Mohammed - AP
2011-02-02 06:48 ZB wrote:
Great article. Interesting to know shortwave, even in the modern techno mix, is not dead after all when trouble hits.

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