Unless you have been on holday on a desert island (I wish), you cannot have missed the 24 hours media coverage of the developments in Egypt.
Notwithstanding the political developments, what has become apparent is that the Internet in Egypt was shut down for some days.
But could a government, say the USA, shut down the Internet? The answer seems to be yes. And plans are afoot to make it law that it is able to do so.
In Egypt, there are only a handful of ISPs and it seems they were told to effectively re-program their main routers so no IP traffic could find its way into the country. Traffic is directed through a router by a protocol called ‘Border Gateway Protocol’ or BGP. A quick change to the routers and the country became an Internet black hole.
Senators in the States are now pushing for legislation to have their own ‘Internet off switch’, one that may give their government authority over privately owned computer systems. Is this a good thing?
There has been such a furore over civil liberties that a statement has been issued to refute the implication.
It seems the Internet is now right at the centre of our democratic process in the West.
This could be a topic of discussion when discussing Society and ICT.