The Egyptian government may have flipped the switch on the country’s Internet access, but you should never underestimate a nation’s collective drive to satisfy its Facebook fix.
Despite President Hosni Mubarak’s effort to stifle communication among protesters, with a little help from Google, the Egyptian people are identifying creative methods to circumvent the Internet ban.
Surge Desk breaks down five strategies that Egyptians are adopting to bypass the Internet lock-down and continue tweeting the revolution.
1. Speak to Tweet
The most widely publicized effort against the Egyptian Internet ban is a Google, Twitter, and SayNow collaboration called Speak To Tweet.
“Anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers … and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt,” Google explains. “No Internet connection is required.”
People can also call the phone numbers +16504194196 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +16504194196 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to listen to the tweets, or visit the @speak2tweet Twitter feed.
That’s right, dial-up. International numbers to connect through the seemingly outdated method of accessing the Internet are circulating throughout Egypt thanks to net activists such as We Re-Build and Telecomix. After a little static, pinging, and waiting, the dial-up numbers are allowing some users to hop back on the internet.
3. Social media dashboards
Vancouver-based tech company HootSuite, which offers a third-party social media dashboard application for posting on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, reported a seven-fold increase in Egyptian subscriptions during January.
4. VPNs and proxy servers
Virtual private networks and proxy servers, both of which provide secure remote access to external networks, are being set up to facilitate Egyptian Internet use.
5. Who needs the Internet?
“[The Egyptians are] using old-fashioned word of mouth,” according to Neil Hicks, policy adviser for Human Rights First, a non-profit advocacy group. “They’re aware of the possibilities of surveillance if they use these technologies. So they get on a motorbike or car, and go to the next neighborhood and arrange things.”
By: Steven Hoffer