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Why is it surprising that a country could shut down access to the internet? It's not as if the internet is some sort of magic cloud where packets fly in and out to destinations across the world. It's a system. It has points of failure just like anything else. Granted it was built to survive failure but if you didn't build your internet infrastructure like the designers envisioned it's probably pretty easy to turn it off.

When I lived in NYC I was really surprised to find out that most transatlantic cables terminated in this tall windowless building on Duane and Chambers street. If you basically took that building away you probably could turn off the internet for a good portion of people in the US. Or at the very least make it hard.

My point being - in Egypt there probably is a similar building that houses all of their DNS servers, lines to other countries, etc. So its not hard to believe that someone just decided to walk in and turn off the power.

If this comment is interesting to you, you must read Mother Earth, Motherboard [1]. It's a fantastic long technojournalist piece by Neal Stephenson dealing with transoceanic cables.

[1] http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass.html

I tried, I couldn't cope with the writing style. Is it really worth me pushing through it?


  In a nicely Pharaonic touch, one of the six ducts going 
  into the ground here is the sole property of President 
  Hosni Mubarak, or (presumably) whoever succeeds him as 
  head of state. It is hard to envision why a head of state 
  would want or need his own private tube full of air running 
  underneath the Sahara. The obvious guess is that the duct 
  might be used to create a secure communications system, 
  independent of the civilian and military systems (the 
  Egyptian military will own one of the six ducts, and ARENTO 
  will own three). This, in and of itself, says something 
  about the relationship between the military and the 
  government in Egypt.
If you have StyleBot, this makes it a lot more readable:


  body {
  	width: 600px;
  	margin: auto;
  	line-height: 1.7;

Who knows, what with old broken software installed on old broken routers, but there are transpacific cables, and Asia is directly connected to Europe... so I think there would be no loss of Internet functionality in this case. NYC-LON ping times would be a lot higher, of course, but that's exactly why those cables exist -- to make things faster.

Those links are not designed to suddenly handle all transatlantic traffic in addition to their regular load of J-pop.

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