Tag Archives: jan25

Egypt needs gateways and everyone must help out!

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!

Egypt disconnects internet cable – viva la revolución!

Swedish news mentions it (and international too)and the graphics paint a clear picture – Egypt has basically disconnected its internet connection. Telecomix, among others, is an organisation trying to help Egyptians communicate with the outside world. TV4 recently called me to ask “how Telecomix are trying to help” – and what does one do when internet fails? Radio communication, and that’s what is most important right now. Several Telecomix agents have already succeeded in building an information spreading communication network with reporting entities in Egypt.

Egypt the undemocratic state has disconnected major parts of its external internet connection

As further protests against incumbent President Hosni Mubarak’s rule sweep the nation, Internet traffic from the country has dropped to a fraction of its previous levels – with some Internet monitoring services claiming a dip of between 88 and 98 per cent.

I would like you to take this into account when choosing where you’re going on your vacation. Do you really wish to support states like these for your own enjoyment? It is no news that these nations are corrupt, power hungry and disrespect basic human liberties.

The events taking place today in Egypt are merely a result of the lack of respect for human and civil rights in that nation. This has now spread, since shit hit the fan, to actually disconnecting major parts of the internet and phone communications in Egypt (compare with US talk on internet kill switch):

Statement – Vodafone Egypt
All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course .

We are in Telecomix trying to establish amateur/ham radio connections to allow communication inside and outside of Egypt. These connections are much harder to block for an oppressive regime and thus a necessary alternative when the internet is inaccessible.

Latest news from the hamradio pad is:

40m band, 7.050-7.200 MHz LSB, focusing on 7.110, 318.5 degrees(northwest/north from cairo), Saturday night until the morning (16:00-05:00 UTC). ON/KC0SJH will be calling CQ

For anyone interested in helping out, get on IRC! #jan25 for Egypt discussions and #hamradio for making communications work out. The network is irc.telecomix.org or direct chat for #telecomix.

There is no way to stop communication. If you do, someone always finds a way around it. Information must be spread. Never stop transmitting, never stop sharing. Tell the world around you what is happening. Let the events in Tunisia and Egypt make their way out into neighbouring countries. Let the events spread throughout the world. What happens far away may happen close to you. When do we stop accepting oppressive nations “near home”? When are attempts to censor and filter in our own democratic nations too much – and when will the international information revolution begin?

Has it perhaps already begun?