The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. – John Gilmore, 1993
I thought about John’s quote yesterday when I heard about attempts to block access to the Internet in Egypt. It ain’t working, per a couple of links Robert Steele sent me.
And now many Egyptians are finding ways around the cuts and getting back on the Internet, allowing them to more easily communicate with the outside world and spread information from the inside. One popular method is to use the local phone lines, which remain intact. The trick is to bypass local Egyptian ISPs (Internet Service Providers) by connecting to remote ones hosted in outside countries — many are hosted here in the United States; Los Angeles seems, for whatever reason, to be a popular site. This is easy enough for the most computer-illiterate among us to do using basic settings and a built-in ‘Help’ function, but Egyptians have a second hurdle as most homes in the country are unable to call internationally. One way that many are getting around this is by linking through a mobile phone network by establishing a connection between a cell with built-in bluetooth compatibility and a laptop with similar functionality or a computer with a bluetooth dongle.