According to numerous news reports, the Egyptian government pulled the plug on the internet on Friday. Assuming this move was done to snuff out dissent in a country plagued by civil unrest, looting, and 100 deaths as a result of rioting, the international community is left with the question: was unplugging the internet the ultimate “no-no” and an admission of guilt on the part of the Mubarak regime?
Equally indicting is China’s recent deliberate attempt to keep ignorant their citizen’s knowledge of international news by blocking internet searches that include the word “Egypt.” Heaven forbid the Chinese people find out that the government is supposed to listen to the people!
Experts say that Egypt has a far fewer internet service providers, which make it easier for the government to apply pressure and have internet chopped off in the pivotal Mid East country. The likelihood of the same act happening in the US is slim-to-none, since we have thousands of providers and outlets for communication. The US strips away religious freedom and the right to life whenever secular hands get a grip on power; but touch our internet? How dare they even think about restricting my freedom to tweet!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of freedom of press (thus I blog), peaceable assembly, and all the rest outlined in our Constitution. The Egyptians deserve to have their internet access restored. But I find it a little interesting that when the internet is unplugged in Egypt we see it as not only an admission of wrong-doing on the part of the Mubarak regime, but also the ultimate restriction on freedom.
Perhaps we should also consider the fundamental freedoms that make our right to communicate and assemble relevant.