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How 5:30 Changed the Internet

Published on 31 January 2011
Updated on 05 April 2024

egypt backIf the main change in Internet governance needs picture it will be, most likely, this one. If it needs time it will be 5:27. It was the time when Egyptian governments decided to cut the Internet access in Egypt. In a few minuts the traffic dropped from 2.000 Mbps to almost nothing. It was the first event in the history when one country was intentionally cut from the Internet. Previous examples involved technical faults and filtering of content or blocking some services such as YouTube or Facebook. This remarkable moment involved one political irony. The responsibility over the Internet, including the cut was on Minister Tarek Kamel. He is one of the Internet pioneers who moved to politics and precided over the fenomenal growth of the Internet in Egypt. Alhtough bloggers were harrased, the access to the Internet was free. Minister Kamel also created remarkable policy team, which made big impact in keeping Internet open and run in inclusive matters. This irony was the best explained in the letter with Anthony wrote to Tarek Kamel. Here are a few questions that have been raised after the cut of the Internet…. Why is defining moment for the future of the Internet? It was the first time in the history to cut the country from the Internet. It did not happen before, even in the time of wars in the Balkans, Iraq and Afganistan. Apart from political considerations, did Egyptian government have right to do? There is no law requiring from countries to keep the Internet connection. What should be done? There is a need for more rules in this field. Countreis should be required to maintain the Interet conneciton. How to negotiate this rule? It is very difficult if not impossible. The negotiation is likely to involve balancing act existing from the first ITU conventions till today.. Even if such law is acceptedwould it be observed. The existance of the rules does not mean that they will be applied. it only means that illegal behaviour will be more costly.

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