Google beats Egypt net blackout with voice tweets
The last net connection in Egypt has been taken down, ahead of another big protest against the country’s president – prompting Google to find a novel way of keeping online protest alive.
Last week, web monitoring firm Renesys noted Egypt’s web traffic had fallen to nearly zero, with the four major ISPs apparently told by the Government to cut their connections.
However, smaller ISP Noor was seemingly allowed to stay up, with many suggesting that was because it connects the Egyptian stock exchange to the rest of the world.
As of last night, “Noor is no longer reachable from outside of Egypt,” said general manager Earl Zmijewski in a Renesys blog post.
“We really hope this situation does not continue and look forward to welcoming Egypt back to the net,” he said. “Trying to ban the internet in this century is a bit like trying to ban the wheel in centuries past.”
Speak to tweet
While internet connections are down, Egyptians and journalists can still share the news from the protest via Twitter.
Google, Twitter, and a firm called SayNow – which the search giant bought only last week – have created a system that allows people to call and leave a voicemail that will be translated into a tweet.
“It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt,” Google said in a blog post. “No internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.”
Aside from Google’s efforts, there’s also a list of ways to get around the internet blackout here.