Will Social Networks Deliver Democracy To Africa And Middle East?

President Barrack Obama stands at the precipice of democracy with an opportunity to bring the Arab and Muslim world the same opportunities the rich and powerful of the West, and select pockets of regimes we as Americans have entertained for decades.

If Obama is willing to accept that what we are watching is “Africa Addio” – Africa on fire – he may be the only person able to restore a possibility for peace. If he will get over the rhetoric and stand up for the things he claims to represent, those things our nation was founded upon, perhaps, the world can live in peace again.  But there must be an end to the same old axioms of partnerships with thugs, torturers and tyrants, and we must stop supplying bullying nations with arms that oppress their people.  We must, as people, stand for the things we want for our children.

What we heard today was “unbalancing” of the press, at its best, “We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters,” Clinton said at the State Department, adding that the protesters also should avoid violence.

“We urge the Egyptian government to allow peaceful protests, and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications,” she said. Internet service in Egypt has been blocked almost completely, according to reports from the country.

As the Western world awakens to watch the stock market snag for the first time 6 months as the people of Egypt refused to obey curfews and the Egyptian security forces stepped up their violence against their own people.  The test of any revolution is in the decision made by those in uniform to murder their own and today’s violence against the men, women and children in the streets raised the volume to a fever pitch.

Analysis by Renesys, an Internet monitoring body, indicates the shutdown across the nation’s major Internet service providers was at precisely the same time, 12:34 a.m. EET (22:34 UTC):

“Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table … The Egyptian government’s actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.”

“It looks like they’re taking action at two levels,” Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro told me. “First at the DNS level, so any attempt to resolve any address in .eg will fail — but also, in case you’re trying to get directly to an address, they are also using the Border Gateway Protocol, the system through which ISPs advertise their Internet protocol addresses to the network. Many ISPs have basically stopped advertising any internet addresses at all.”

According to the folks at FreePress, “”A U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the country. Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.”

Narus describes itself as, “… the only software company that provides security, intercept and traffic management solutions within a single, flexible system. With Narus, service providers, governments and large enterprises around the world can immediately detect, analyze, mitigate and target any unwanted, unwarranted or malicious traffic. Narus solutions provide its customers with complete, real-time insight into all of their IP traffic from the network to the applications, enabling customers to take the most appropriate actions quickly.

“Narus’ system protects and manages the largest IP networks in the U. S. and around the world, some of which include: KT (Korea), KDDI (Japan), Raytheon, Telecom Egypt, Reliance (India), Cable and Wireless, Saudi Telecom, U.S. Cellular, Pakistan Telecom Authority and many more.”

“Narus was incorporated in Delaware in 1997 as a privately held U.S. company and became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company in 2010.”

And if you had any question about privacy in the Internet Age, “Narus Vice President of Marketing Steve Bannerman said to Wired in 2006: “Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice Over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Those looking for resistance to this sort of invasion can consider, Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr’s  statement:

“What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users’ privacy is bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can quickly lead to stark human rights violations.

“Companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be held to a higher standard. The same technology U.S. and European companies want to use to monitor and monetize their customers’ online activities is being used by regimes in Iran, China, Burma and others for far more suspicious, and possibly brutal, purposes.

“The harm to democracy and the power to control the Internet are so disturbing that the threshold for the global trafficking in DPI must be set very high. That’s why, before DPI becomes more widely used around the world and at home, Congress must establish legitimate standards for preventing the use of such control and surveillance technologies as means to violate human rights.”

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/01/28/107640/us-urges-egypt-to-halt-crackdown.html#ixzz1CNY6QBZd

While McClatchy points out that the administration, “fell short of a complete U.S. break with President Hosni Mubarak,” Mubarek, the ancient autocrat decided to discharge his government but refused to take responsibility for this years of abuse and treachery.

Here is what we’re hearing from the social network world:

From Al Jeejera:

“I am an Iranian with the experience of uprising against the Shah. We expected to have a better society and ended up with a closed one. So I wonder what will be next after all the struggling and potential bloodshed in Egypt.”

Huffington Post

“I just received a call from a friend in Cairo (I won’t say who it is now because he’s a prominent activist) telling me neither his DSL nor his USB internet service is working. I’ve just checked with two other friends in different parts of Cairo and their internet is not working either.”

“I guess it’s one thing to go to Cairo to give a speech” on Democracy
But when confronted with the possibilit­y of freedoms for 80 million Egyptions,­,,The US President chose to keep the status quo to support Mubarak remaining, after all the protection of Israel and our interests in the middle east supercedes spouting the Philosophy of Democracy.”

and last but not least, from The Daily Beast:

Eddie Thundercloud

“I find that water cannons can be quite useful! When I am visiting foreign countries(in my mind) and feel constipated due to the jet lag and different water content….I stroll down to the local demonstration, bare my buttocks and moon the cannon operators.This always elicits a violent response and I receive a severe water enema.Shazam…my constipation is relieved and I am also bidet clean.”

Tek-tippers unbind yourselves and let us know what you and your friends are thinking, doing and feeling about what we are doing and what we ought to be doing.  Do you think social networks can make a difference, or do you have a better idea?

Tek-Tips

2 Responses to Will Social Networks Deliver Democracy To Africa And Middle East?

  1. lakersbaby January 30, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    You need to get your facts straight. DPI had nothing to do with the shutdown. The government ordered the ISPs to disable the Internet in Egypt. Come on, I expected more from you.

  2. Tek-Tips January 30, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    In case you failed to read the sentence correctly, note the link and the quote marks. Here is what it says: WASHINGTON — “A U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the country. Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.”

    How is it that you know any different? Please share where you get different information?

Leave a Reply


*