{Replica} Egypt, network closures and the fear of the web: what is actually changing the internet?


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Copyright:  Images by Richard Gutjahr via Flickr. Picture location: Cairo, Al-Qahira Governorate, Egypt.

Egypt - a country in a state of emergency. And - this is new - offline. Mubarak left on at the 28. January 2011 cut the internet connections. He proves one thing above all else: his own fear of the Internet - which is completely superfluous: it works without it either. A wrap around on the topic: Egypt

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.

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The situation in Egypt

I don't want to go into the situation in Egypt very much now - other media are already doing that extensively and much better than I could here: ZB reported Spiegel ONLINE last week about the network blocking. Friday writes about the threat of deterioration in the current situation.

Numerous media provide a political background to the situation in Egypt. The FAZ, for example, provided the background on how such a comprehensive network lock was actually technically possible. And time reports on how people circumvent the network lock.

Yes, it does not matter, the net!

And this is exactly what I am concerned with: Egypt shows that it is (relatively easy) to collectively erase an entire country from the digital map. This could serve as a role model, also for Germany, where there are discussions of all kinds of network locks - as Andreas Bogk from Chaos Computer Club said on the TV show Nano.

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The whole discussion about how to somehow limit the Internet shows how great the reservations are against it - with politicians as well as with normal people. I'm just thinking of the wild conspiracy theories of a cultural pessimist that I recently listened to in a pizzeria in Kreuzberg (I'd better come up with a job that has nothing to do with the internet ;-)

What does the switch off?

So it's no wonder a lot of people would like to turn it off. But seriously: what would that do? Probably nothing. As my colleague Richard Gutjahr said in the aforementioned nano show: The Internet was certainly helpful in bringing the movement to the streets. Now all of this also works via munitions propaganda.

Update: By the way, Gujahr, who travels to Cairo to be there on location, also got the excellent pictures that you can see below in the blog - and which he freely distributed on Twitter with a friendly “serve you”. By the way, Ulrike Langer reports on the background of his trip to Cairo without a fixed order in an excellent Article about entrepreneurial journalism.

Just relax with it

And even if the Internet is hyped accordingly as a meaning carrier, and even if the communication would certainly be more difficult: who knows if not much would be possible even without the Internet? In any case, I would argue for a more relaxed use of the Internet.

By no means do I want to say that it is superfluous or unimportant. On the contrary, I love the simplified communication the net allows and I do not want to miss it. But it is quite normal. And I just do not understand the excitement that is made about it - or how did it bring filmmaker Helge Thomas from Heidelberg so nicely to the point (in the commentary):

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On the other hand, I am always amazed at how difficult it is for many. all of this is not new. people have been networking since time immemorial. they meet up with friends or colleagues and exchange ideas. Depending on the type / gusto about professional, private, family, bizarre or normal. not infrequently the weather. twitter, facebook and Co. are nothing more than the further development of this age-old human need with digital means ... the most remarkable story in this context was the following: a former manager recently asked me what he should do if someone with him on facebook wants to be friends and he doesn't want that. and i asked him how he deals with such a situation in “analog” life ...


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