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Egypt Shows How Easily Internet Can Be Silenced

January 28, 2011

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CNBC reports on the danger of little diversity in a country's internet service providers who own the infrastructure, now that Egypt has successfully disrupted citizens' internet access and the world's acess to Egyptian internet sites.

The move by Egyptian authorities to seal off the country almost entirely from the Internet shows how easily a state can isolate its people when telecoms providers are few and compliant.

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.

Hundreds of service providers offer connections in Egypt, but just four own the infrastructure - Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt and Etisalat Misr.

Daniel Karrenberg, chief scientist at RIPE NCC, a European not-for-profit Internet infrastructure forum, says immature markets with few providers can achieve such shutdowns relatively easily.

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