Should anyone out there in my vicinity want to setup a dial-up modem service for Egyptian activists (or anyone else), so they can access an uncensored internet, I’d be happy to help.
Unfortunately I personally don’t have a regular phone line, not even IP telephony, available. No incoming cellular lines other than my cellphone at all. So I can’t personally setup a gateway using the simple method of a modem and Linux installation that other Telecomix agents have setup (first notice at Twitter on January 28th). But I have the hardware available, should anyone want to make their phone line available for this.
We are now providing dialup modem service at +46850009990. user/pass: telecomix/telecomix (only for #egypt, respect that please!).
The need is still strong, and it may prove to be very useful to spread knowledge of these technologies and the availability. Of course it’s a pity that we are required to resort to such simple things as telephone modems – but those are the facts. Egypt doesn’t want its population to act effectively against the government, possibly adding more chaos and havoc, so communications are snapped.
Should we be afraid of the same blatant misuse of power being applied during uprisings in our home countries, if we live in a reasonably calm and democratic nation? The following is quoted and translated from a text in Västerbottens Kuriren at 2011-01-30 written by Umeå-based writer P O Ågren who has long kept a close eye on internet and democracy issues:
[…] Can the same thing happen in Sweden?
No, not yet. But with the same reasons as Mubarak enforced a restriction on Internet traffic, we can find an urge to confine in Sweden: a sort of fear of the citizens’ horizontal communication and a goal to via Internet Service Providers get influence over and restrict that style of communication.
One example is the Data Retention Directive which will soon be implemented in Swedish law and implies that ISPs must store customer traffic data for six months, so that it is possible for the government to track every citizen’s communication behaviour.
The data retention directive is one of many issues Telecomix is battling in parallell with the rest of the offline and online free speech communities, such as the Swedish Journalist federation and the Swedish Pirate Party. It is a European Union law which has already been implemented in several nations and has caused quite a stir due to its draconic properties. The retention of sensitive information is also a major reason why it is a horrible piece of legislation, because it makes it obligatory and lawful to store data about calls to psychiatrists, journalists, doctors and other personal matters.
Another very risky development to look out for in our own country are the threats to net neutrality, kill switches and lobbying/pressures/laws regulating ISP liability (“mere conduit” issues). In its simplest terms: Don’t shoot the messenger.
Egypt may be chaotic and they need our help. But we can’t forget about our local governments’ and corporations’ attempts to abuse – or lay the grounds for abusing – their power. This struggle always needs more people involved – and since it is in the interest of the ordinary inhabitant, I (and many others) urge everyone to activate your average friends in politics and the current events around the world!