Mubarak's internet kill-switch decision: not necessarily what it seems

Talk over the last few weeks as Egyptian riots and now a full-blown revolution takes hold was Mubarak’s “decision” to hit the internet kill-switch and shut it all down: twitter, Facebook, MySpace and all internet.

Americans were predictably outraged. After all, here and in many other parts of the world internet and social media networking have become almost a necessity. I hunted down some tweeps on twitter from the Middle East and found some who were tweeting instructions with proxies on how to “beat” Mubarak’s order and get back on twitter, facebook and the internet. After all, I thought I was doing the correct thing.

But things are not always what they seem from another country’s point of view.

I have friends here from Egypt. They are Copts and emigrated 25 years ago because they were persecuted in Egypt. Both husband and wife are highly intelligent and educated and still have family there.  He a physician. I saw them at a dinner last week and questioned them about the situation in Egypt.

My first question was about Mubarak’s decision to shut down the internet and how could he possibly make the decision to cut off all communication. I even told them I had sent out some info on twitter on how to get around this shutdown.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

I was told by the couple that Mubarak’s decision in their eyes was absolutely correct.

Stunned I asked why and was told because it was the young people who were using the internet and social media networking to foment the revolution, it was an absolute necessity.

Very interesting. Now that the FCC has passed “net neutrality” *cough* could it happen in the US? Obama has said in the event of a “national emergency” he would hit the internet kill switch.

The 64 dollar question is, of course, what constitutes a “national emergency”?

Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks