[IRP] Urgent - Statement on Egyptian Internet restrictions

Norbert Bollow nb
Tue Feb 1 14:46:49 EET 2011

Max Senges <maxsenges at gmail.com> wrote:

> One question: do we have evidence that the government is behind the
> disruption?

The evidence that I'm aware of is as follows:

1) Globally visible route withdrawals show the following timeline:

    * Telecom Egypt (AS8452), the national incumbent, starts the
      process at 22:12:43.
    * Raya joins in a minute later, at 22:13:26.
    * Link Egypt (AS24863) begins taking themselves down 4 minutes
      later, at 22:17:10.
    * Etisalat Misr (AS32992) goes two minutes later, at 22:19:02
    * Internet Egypt (AS5536) goes six minutes later, at 22:25:10. 


In my view, the only possible explanation for this kind of pattern is
that the ISPs had been instructed in advance to provide the government
with some kind of access to key router infrastructure (such as e.g.
access right so that a government techie could telnet to the routers
to end the route announcement), and this plan was then executed.

2) One smaller ISP (Noor), owned by a known opposition politician, did
not participate in the shutdown at that time, but it was shutdown
several days later.


3) Public statement of Vodafone Egypt 

   We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have
   the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done
   so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our
   customers. It has been clear to us that there were no legal or
   practical options open to Vodafone, or any of the mobile operators
   in Egypt, but to comply with the demands of the authorities.

   Moreover, our other priority is the safety of our employees and any
   actions we take in Egypt will be judged in light of their
   continuing wellbeing.


Taken together, I think that this set of evidence is extremely


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