[Busec] Fwd: [cabernet] Fwd: [p2p-hackers] Some Clarifications regarding Egypt

Sharon Goldberg sharon.goldbe at gmail.com
Fri Feb 11 15:12:34 EST 2011


> 

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject:    [p2p-hackers] Some Clarifications regarding Egypt
> Date:    Sun, 6 Feb 2011 19:18:47 +0200
> From:    Sameh El-Ansary <sansary at nileuniversity.edu.eg>
> Reply-To:    theory and practice of decentralized computer networks
> <p2p-hackers at lists.zooko.com>
> To:    theory and practice of decentralized computer networks
> <p2p-hackers at lists.zooko.com>
> 
> 
> 
> Dear P2P-Hackers,
> 
> I am an Egyptian P2P researcher and an old member of your list.
> I was really glad to find those two threads about Egypt in the P2P
> hackers list.
> 
> Technology (basically Facebook and Twitter) was a foundational part of
> this revolution.
> History is being written as we speak, and any simple idea, especially
> technology-related can
> make a huge difference. Your brainstorming on this list is extremely
> valuable!!
> 
> i have skimmed though the threads, and excuse me if some of the thoughts are
> redundant or not enough organized. (Have to rush back to the
> demonstrations!!)
> 
> 
> I- DIFFERENT PHASES
> ---------------------------------
> Let me clarify that at different stages, we had different challenges.
> Phase 1: Only Twitter was blocked.
> Solution: People started using public proxies.
> Even VPNs, were a bit too much of an advanced idea for some people.
> They started disseminating the info through Facebook.
> 
> Phase 2: No Internet
> At this stage, I can not confirm whether routing inside Egypt was still
> working
> on or not. All ISPs and Mobile operators were ordered to shut it down.
> and I am interested to know (as some of you are), how did they do it.
> But ordering physical powering off of all switches is not unimaginable here.
> 
> Let me also draw your attention to the fact that symmetric satellite
> connections
> are basically illegal to start with, unless you are an embassy or some
> hotshot
> petroleum company or something.
> 
> Phase 3: No SMS
> Just one more censorship level
> 
> Phase 4: No Internet & no mobile services.
> At this point there was nothing working but land-lines. Again, I can not
> confirm whether routing was working or not. However, if you are using a 3G
> connection, there was no even GSM signal to start with !!
> 
> III- DIFFERENT GOALS
> --------------------------------
> Let me aslo clarify that at each time different challenges were in place.
> 
> a- Organizing protests: that was the initial thing but quickly more
> challenges came
> 
> b- Sending out the message: the other challenge was to send to the whole
> world
> the real picture of what is going on, especially that the Egyptian media
> was portraying
> a totally different picture of what is actually going on. That was
> extremely important
> on Friday the 28th, when the police was firing real bullets (claiming
> that to be rubber ones.)
> and more importantly when they hired thugs and secret police to attack
> unarmed pro-democracy
> protesters on the 2nd of Feb. They
> collected video testimonies of captured thugs and captured disguised
> police officers including
> their ids and their confessions of them being paid to attack.
> 
> c- On-site communication: during the demonstrations, communicating with
> the masses (and by masses
> I mean more than one million people) is a challenge. Protesters had a
> tough time gathering enough loudspeakers
> and with the amount of people and large physical space, they could
> barely communicate with a small portion
> of the rest of the crowd. May be some simple ad-hoc networking
> blue-tooth based or something could
> have helped here.
> 
> 
> II- THINGS THAT ALMOST WORKED
> -------------------------------------
> a- Voice to Tweet
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/feb/01/google-twitter-egypt
> This thing really worked, before the government screwed it as well.
> 
> b- International Dial-up:
> In phase 4, luckily this was still possible and some people started
> doing it individually
> but there is not up to now enough known phone numbers around.
> 
> Finally, Internet is back now, but I would not be surprised if it went
> off again.
> 
> I hope this gives a closer picture to what has been going on in Egypt.
> I hope I can still communicate and brainstorm with you on the subject,
> however, I am rarely online now.
> 
> Finally, we have no shortage of techies here. We can set up any complex
> system.
> Everybody, is volunteering to do something
> and self-organizing communities are being formed in a speed beyond belief.
> Needless to say, the things have to be simple enough to be used by
> non-techie masses.
> 
> Cheers,
> --------------
> Sameh El-Ansary, PhD
> Assistant Professor, Nile University, Egypt
> Co-founder, Peerialism Inc. Stockholm, Sweden
> 
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